April 23, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The city is about to provide nursing homes with more staff and protective equipment.
The city is sending an additional 210 clinical workers to 40 nursing homes this week, doubling the number of clinical workers it has already sent to nursing home facilities across the city.
In addition, the city is boosting the weekly supply of personal protective equipment that it’s sending to nursing homes by 50 percent.
“Our city’s nursing homes are home to some of those most at risk for COVID-19,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “They need our support more than ever, which is why we are stepping in and sending more staff and support to assist those who protect and care for our most vulnerable.
The effort comes after several nursing homes across the state and city have reported deadly outbreaks of the novel coronavirus. Statewide, 2,869 people in nursing homes have died from the virus as of Tuesday, according to the State Department of Health.
In Queens, 640 residents in nursing homes have died from COVID-19 — more than any county in the state.
Three Queens nursing homes had more than 40 residents die — Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehab reported 46 deaths; Franklin Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing reported 45 deaths and Holliswood Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare reported 42 deaths.
Nursing home residents are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. The disease kills seniors at a higher rate than other age groups.
The city has already been supplying nursing homes with lots of protective equipment.
Last week the city sent out a range of PPE items, including more than 40,000 N95 masks; 800,000 surgical masks; 40,000 face shields; 1.5 million gloves and at least 105,000 gowns or coveralls to 169 nursing homes across the five boroughs.
While the city is providing aid to nursing homes, it is the state that ultimately regulates them and is in charge of monitoring them.
Governor Andrew Cuomo came under fire yesterday for saying “it’s not our job” to provide the homes with PPE.
However, he said that the state has been delivering hundreds of thousands of critical PPE to nursing homes in need.
He said nursing homes must have enough PPE for staff and residents by law.
Cuomo announced today that the State Department of Health and State Attorney General will launch an investigation into nursing homes’ compliance with state standards on COVID-19, such as ensuring an adequate PPE supply. Nursing homes that aren’t in compliance could face fines and lose licenses, he added.
Nursing homes are our top priority, and we will investigate any nursing home that violates the law.
By law, nursing homes must:
-Have adequate PPE
-Isolate COVID residents
-Temp checks for staff
-Separate staff for COVID residents
-Notify residents/family members of positives
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 23, 2020
The City has also set up a task force to work with about half of all nursing homes in New York City to collect data on staffing, PPE supply, decedent management and other needs.