New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has defended sending more than 4,300 patients confirmed or suspected of having coronavirus from hospitals to nursing homes, arguing it was White House guidance.
The governor hit out at the criticism during his Saturday press briefing, placing the blame with President Donald Trump by saying ‘don’t criticize the state for following the president’s policy’.
Cuomo has come under fire since it was revealed on Thursday that the 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes.
In total, there have been more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in the state.
He was pushed to comment on the policy during his Saturday briefing and said that ‘New York followed the president’s agency’s guidance’.
The state directive, which said nursing homes could not refuse to accept patients from hospitals who had been diagnosed with COVID-19, was issued on March 25.
It was ultimately scrapped amid widespread criticism that it was accelerating the nation’s deadliest outbreak as patients went into the homes and infected more residents, ultimately leading to more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York.
Cuomo has previously denied that the directive contributed to any of the deaths.
‘I have no political agenda, I have no political aspirations, there’s no politics here,’ Cuomo said Saturday when asked about the policy.
‘I can say that but we’re still in an election year and people are playing politics and this is a hyper partisan environment to the extent that people want to politicize this issue and Republicans are saying “well, New York did this”.
‘New York followed the president agency’s guidance. That depoliticizes it,’ he added.
‘What New York did was follow what the Republican administration said to do. That’s not my attempt to politicize it, it’s my attempt to depoliticize it.
‘So don’t criticize the state for following the president’s policy.’
Cuomo also turned to his top aide Melissa DeRosa, who reiterated that the state had only followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.
‘The policy that the New York Department of Health put out was directly in line with the March 13 directive put out by the CDC and CMS that read, and I quote “Nursing Homes should admit any patients from hospitals where COVID is present”. Not could, should,’ De Rosa said.
‘That is President Trump’s CMS and CDC.
‘So I know that there has been a lot of discussion on this topic, there were over a dozen states that did the exact same thing who were concerned about hospital capacity,’ she added.
Cuomo’s response to the backlash over the nursing home admissions came after a Fox News senior meteorologist revealed she blames the New York governor for her parents-in-law dying of COVID-19 in a nursing home.
Janice Dean told Fox News on Thursday that she felt compelled to speak out after the governor appeared on CNN, where Chris Cuomo teased his older sibling for having a large nose.
Dean said that her mother- and father-in-law, Michael and Dolores Newman, both died of COVID-19 after they were exposed to the virus in nursing homes.
Her father-in-law, Michael, an Air Force veteran and former New York City firefighter, was placed in a nursing home after it became apparent he was suffering from dementia.
Dean said that she and her husband were notified a week before Michael’s death that the nursing home was moving him to another floor.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Frances Mulraney