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State finds 1.7K undisclosed deaths at nursing homes, many in Nassau

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office reported Tuesday that more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths occurred at nursing homes and adult care facilities, many of them in Nassau and New York City facilities.

At a press briefing in Albany Tuesday, Cuomo was asked what the state can do to prevent more deaths at these facilities. He said he and his staff are studying what else might be done, and noted that he and State Attorney General Letitia James are investigating whether nursing homes are adhering to requirements that they report Cover-19 cases and deaths to relatives.

Cuomo noted at the briefing that nursing homes are "prime places" for coronavirus because residents are elderly and many have underlying medical conditions. He noted the state has already prohibited visits at nursing homes. He said he believed the measure was "cruel" but added: "You do anything you can" to stop the spread of the virus.

The State Health Department has reported that at least 4,813 people had died from the coronavirus since March 1 at nursing homes in the state. But exactly how many nursing home residents have died remains uncertain despite the state’s latest disclosure, as the list doesn’t include nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals before dying.

Long Beach has a number of nursing homes and adult care facilities. The state's revised lost shows that that 22 nursing homes, largely in New York City and Long Island, have reported at least 40 deaths.

In April, the state said 22 residents had died at the Long Beach Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 8 at the Glen Cove Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, and 6 at the Lynbrook Restorative and Therapy Nursing Facility.

John McNally, a spokesman for the City of Long Beach, said the nursing homes do not report Cover-19 cases or deaths to the city, only to the State Health Department.

The new numbers dramatically increased the death tolls at Long Island nursing homes. Nassau County’s nursing home count went from 306 deaths on Friday to 457 confirmed and presumed COVID deaths reported Tuesday. The increases confirm what elder care advocates and dozens of family members have suspected — that the state’s original list of deaths by facility severely underestimated the carnage that COVID-19 had wreaked on nursing homes.

Family members said many of the nursing homes continue to provide vague, minimal information about cases and deaths, even after an executive order from Cuomo instructed them to report the deaths and cases to family members.