Nursing home staffs in New York state must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday at his daily briefing.
Additionally, hospitals can only discharge patients to nursing homes if they test negative for COVID-19.
If a nursing home cannot provide adequate care for a COVID-positive resident, such as staffing, facilities or equipment, it must call the state health department to transfer the resident.
If the facilities don’t follow the procedures, they will lose their license, the governor said.
“One of our top priorities is protecting people in nursing homes and seniors,” Cuomo said Sunday. “This is where this virus feeds. It’s where this virus started.”
Nursing homes have been especially hit hard by the coronavirus. New York leads the nation in the number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, according to The Associated Press, accounting for a fifth — about 5,300 — of the nation’s more than 26,000 deaths.
New York has the highest population of nursing home residents in any state, with 101,518, and ranks 34th in the U.S. for the percentage of deaths in nursing homes, Cuomo noted Sunday.
The governor also noted at the briefing that the state’s health department is now investigating 85 cases of a COVID-related inflammatory illness in children. The condition, known as Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, has similar symptoms to Kawasaki disease. Two additional deaths are also being investigated, Cuomo said.