The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged New York City’s nursing homes — with dozens of elderly patients dying at numerous facilities, according to a grim tally released Friday by the state Health Department.
At the Cobble Hill Health Center in Brownstone Brooklyn, alone, 55 patients have died during the outbreak — the highest toll in the state.
Forty five patients died at the Kings Harbor Multicare Center in The Bronx, the next highest death toll among the city’s nursing homes.
Forty four patients died at both the Franklin Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Queens and the Carmel Richmond facility on Staten Island.
Another 40 people died at the Holliswood Center for Rehabilitation in Queens.
Thirty five patients died at the Plaza Rehab and Nursing Center in The Bronx and 34 perished at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation in Brooklyn.
The partial breakdown only includes 72 nursing homes across the state that reported more than five deaths. Of those, 42 reported at least 10 deaths. There are more than 600 nursing homes in New York State.
More than 1,100 residents cumulatively died just at these 72 facilities. About 2,500 deaths have been reported in total at all nursing homes.
A patient is wheeled out of Cobble Hill Health Center by emergency medical workers today.AP
The Sapphire Center in Flushing, Queens -– which has been the subject of complaints and death threats — reported 26 deaths.
“These numbers are tragic. But there’s undercounting going on,” said state Assemblyman Ronald Kim (D-Queens), whose district includes the Sapphire nursing home.
But two other nursing homes highlighted by The Post as having dozens of deaths combined amid the pandemic — the Chateau at Brooklyn Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Sheepshead Bay and the King David Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Gravesend — were not listed in the tally.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Friday requiring nursing homes to report to family members or next of kin within 24 hours when a relative who is a resident tests positive or dies from COVID-19.
During a press briefing, the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, said timely reporting by some nursing homes has been a problem, and warned those who fail to comply going forward will get slapped with civil fines.
Kim said the conditions in the nursing homes are scandalous and he’s already had conversations with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) about holding legislative hearings about the negligence that occurred. He said the legislative probe will take place when the pandemic abates.
The Sapphire Center in Flushing, QueensKevin C Downs for New York Post
“No one was prepared for this catastrophe. We failed to protect our elderly people at nursing homes,” Kim said.
He said nursing home workers and residents lacked adequate protective gear such as masks when the pandemic hit.
The Kings Harbor long-term facility released a statement defending its care, noting that it had taken on COVID-19 patients to help other jammed hospitals during the surge, has complied with safety guidelines and has been in “constant communication with our with our residents’ families and loved ones.”
“The numbers of deaths released needs to be taken into context. Kings Harbor is a 720-bed facility, many multiples the size of most Long-Term Care Facilities. Additionally, we have opened up two dedicated COVID Units to relieve the surge, and help our referring hospitals with COVID patients that do not require ventilator support. These numbers are included in our totals,” the statement said.
“This is the greatest public health crisis of our lifetime, and we are all in this together.”
A statement on behalf of Carmel Richmond, which is part of the Archdiocese of New York’s “ARCHCARE” health care system, called the release of death statistics a “tremendous disservice to the thousands of dedicated healthcare workers who are putting their lives on the line.”
“Without additional context, the number of COVID-related deaths in a given nursing home is a misleading statistic. On their own, these figures do not accurately reflect the overall quality of care a facility provides or its diligence in trying to control the infection,” the statement said.
The spokesman for Carmel Richmond said the nursing facility had aggressively tested both residents and staffers while other long-term care facilities “have done little or no testing and sent residents presumed to be infected to the hospital. This would allow them to keep their infection rates artificially low and report that patients who in fact succumbed to COVID-19 died of other causes.”
“We took this aggressive approach to testing in order to leave no stone unturned in caring for our residents, including the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which can only be prescribed to patients who have tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement said.