Updated: July 14, 2020 08:44 AM
Created: July 14, 2020 05:45 AM
NEW YORK (AP) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing blistering criticism over an internal report that found no strong link between a controversial state directive that sent thousands of recovering coronavirus patients into nursing homes and some of the nation's deadliest nursing home outbreaks.
Scientists, health care professionals and elected officials assailed the report released last week for failing to address the actual impact of the March 25 order, which by the state's own count ushered more than 6,300 recovering virus patients into nursing homes at the height of the pandemic.
And some accused the state of using the veneer of a scientific study to absolve the Democratic governor by reaching the same conclusion he had been floating for weeks - that unknowingly infected nursing home employees were the main drivers of the outbreaks.
Cuomo, who has been praised for leadership that helped flatten the curve of infections in New York, has also been criticized over his handling of nursing homes, specifically the order that told homes they could not refuse to accept recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals as long as the patients were "medically stable." The order barred homes from even testing such patients to see if they still had the virus.
The directive was intended to free up hospital beds for the sickest patients as cases surged. But relatives, patient advocates and nursing home administrators have called it a misguided decision, blaming it for helping to spread the virus among the state's most vulnerable residents.
Cuomo reversed the order under pressure May 10, long after New York's death toll in care homes had climbed to among the highest in the nation. To date, nearly 6,500 deaths have been linked to the coronavirus in the state's nursing home and long-term care-facilities.
But the 33-page state report flatly says "that nursing home admissions from hospitals were not a driver of nursing home infections or fatalities."
Instead, it says the virus' rampant run through New York nursing homes was propelled by the 37,500 nursing home workers who became infected between mid-March and early June and unknowingly passed the virus on.
The hearings are set for Aug. 3 and Aug. 10.
(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)