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Westchester Not Giving Details on Covid-19 Nursing Home Deaths

In Westchester County, between 35 and 40% of all deaths from the Covid-19 virus are in nursing homes, assisted living, and adult long-term care facilities, according to county data as of Wednesday, April 15.

Yet the county is not providing detailed information about where these deaths occurred, at which particular facilities, or in what specific municipalities.

For example, when asked about nursing homes and other adult facilities specifically in New Rochelle, Mayor Noam Bramson noted,  “we don’t have any figures more granular than those offered by the county.”  So it seems that many families with loved ones in certain facilities cannot get the information they could use to better protect their vulnerable family members–information that would reveal if there were many cases detected at their facility, how many people or staff were ill, and how many had died or recovered.

Some experts site privacy concerns related to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, known as HIPAA, as a reason for not providing more detailed information to the public.

But some other states and counties have released names of nursing homes with coronavirus cases,  at the same time protecting individual names of patients.   So some patient advocates and health experts suggest that New York should release the number of infected patients/cases and deaths in each facility.

As of April 14, the virus has killed more than 3,000  New Yorkers at nursing homes and adult living facilities, including 244 in Westchester County, county data show.

In New York State there are about 613 licensed nursing homes and many other adult facilities– none of which provide detailed reports of their fatalities from the virus. Yet the number of cases and deaths in these facilities is dramatically increasingly according to the state health department figures below.

COVID-19 cases in New York state nursing homes
Joyce Newman
Joyce Newman
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.
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