Gov. Cuomo decreed on March 25th the following:
"No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home]" because of virus diagnosis.
He further prohibited homes from:
"Requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested" for the virus before admission.
Cuomo claims, despite many hospitals having actually sat empty (including the naval ships he demanded Trump bring to NY), that he was worried that hospitals would be overwhelmed. He pushed to discharge elderly patients as soon as they were medically stable. As it turns out, 15% of New York hospital beds and 10% of its intensive-care units remained unoccupied even at COVID's peak. Other states also had plenty of spare capacity.
Gov. Cuomo continued to send recovering COVID patients back to nursing homes even when there were plenty of surge beds - both in US Navy hospital ship, and the Javits Center hospital that the Trump admin built.
A Brooklyn nursing home on April 9th asked the state to transfer vulnerable patients to these field hospitals - Gov. Cuomo said no.
Sources: CDC, WSJ
He finally rescinded his order on May 10th, but he has denied that it contributed to the virus' spread in Nursing Homes or to NY's high death rate. NY's death rate is second only to NJ and four times higher than that of Texas.
His Department of Health claimed New York's share of nursing home deaths (of all fatalities) was the lowest in the country. This is dishonest.
Gov. Cuomo's administration has reported only deaths that occur while in Nursing Homes (6,000 currently) while other Staes report the total number of nursing home residents who die, many of whom die in hospitals.
A nursing home in the Bronx said the state counted only four of its 21 resident deaths. The Associate Press has reported that health department surveys show there are 13,000 more empty nursing home beds this year than expected.
Sources: WSJ, Associate Press
In Comes the DOJ
New Yorker's may finally get an honest accounting thanks to the Trump Justice Department. The DOJ says it wants to determine whether the states' orders "requiring admission of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes is responsible for the death of nursing home residents".
Policy mistakes are going to happen in a pandemic, especially amid early uncertainty. The issue here arises from Gov. Cuomo's refusal to acknowledge his deadly mistakes while scolding the Trump Admin and Republican Governors.