More than 9,000 COVID-19 patients released into nursing homes under Cuomo order

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Thousands of recovering COVID-19 patients were reportedly released to nursing homes early on during the pandemic under a controversial order by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A total of 9,056 recovering patients were dispatched to hundreds of care facilities, representing a 40% increase from what the state’s health department previously disclosed, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, citing records it obtained.

Cuomo has faced questions about the March 25 directive, which some say helped spread the virus even more and increased fatalities as the pandemic was just taking hold. The governor’s administration recently acknowledged that nearly 15,000 long-term care residents have died, an increase from the 8,500 deaths previously acknowledged.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James released a report last month that found preliminary data to suggest “that COVID-19 resident deaths associated with nursing homes in New York state appear to be undercounted by [the Department of Health] by approximately 50 percent.”

At least nine senior New York state health officials have either resigned or retired from their positions in recent months, including the medical director in the division of epidemiology, as the state began its vaccine rollout.

A New York Supreme Court justice also recently ordered the state to turn over its data on coronavirus-caused deaths in nursing homes after she found that the state violated the law by not providing a reasonable date for when it could turn over the information to the group that requested it.

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