NY may have underreported nursing home COVID-19 deaths by up to 50%: AG report

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- New York may have underreported COVID-19-related nursing home deaths by as much as 50 percent, a report released by the state’s attorney general on Thursday found.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday morning released a “Nursing Home Response to COVID-19 Pandemic” report, following a months-long investigation into New York state nursing homes' handling of the pandemic.

The report found that more New York state nursing home residents died of complications related to COVID-19 than state Department of Health data indicated.

Data the office’s investigators obtained from 62 of the state's approximately 600 nursing homes “suggests that many residents died from COVID-19 in hospitals after being transferred from their nursing homes, which is not reflected in DOH’s published total nursing home death data,” James said in a release.

DOH also undercounted the number of residents who died of COVID-19 complications within their nursing homes, she noted.

The report found that many nursing homes failed to comply with infection control protocols. It also determined that nursing homes with lower pre-pandemic staffing rates lost more residents to the virus, the release said.

“As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” James said in a statement.

“While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents,” she added.

1010 WINS has reached out to the Department of Health and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office for comment on the report.