More deaths were reported at nursing homes and adult-care facilities in and around the greater Capital Region on Tuesday.
They include one at an unspecified facility in southern Warren County, one at Fort Hudson Nursing Home in Washington County and two at Diamond Hill in Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County, where the death toll now stands at 10.
Ingersoll Place Assisted Living in Niskayuna announced two additional deaths to family members on Monday, bringing the total number of residents who have succumbed to the coronavirus to five.
Out of 27 patients who have tested positive at the facility, 13 remain hospitalized or are receiving care at other healthcare facilities, officials confirmed Tuesday.
The state conducted facility-wide testing last week, and officials said on Saturday several results were still pending.
“There have been no new resident cases,” said spokesperson Ceil Mack on Tuesday afternoon.
One additional staff member has tested positive, bringing the total number of employees testing positive to 11, some of whom have recovered.
“Many of them have returned to work,” Mack said.
Rensselaer County had confirmed 262 cases as of Tuesday, 60 of which involved residents and employees at nursing homes in the county, or county residents who work for other area nursing homes, said Rich Crist, the county’s operations director.
Cases have also popped up at a half-dozen adult-care facilities in that county, including Eddy Heritage House and Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, both in Troy, and at the Living Resources location in Schodack.
“We are working with them to ensure they have PPEs [personal protective equipment] and are also working to manage populations in the facility,” Crist said.
Elsewhere, 23 residents at the Fulton Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Gloversville tested positive on Friday.
There have been no deaths, a spokesperson said on Monday. Workers there have been outfitted in “full” PPE since early March, the spokesperson said.
The facility also has been working with the state Department of Health and CDC on updates, including “facility-wide testing of residents and staff, plus full facility continuous cleaning and disinfection throughout.”
In Albany County, 42 residents and 19 employees have tested positive at the county-run Shaker Place Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.
And about 150 nursing home residents in Washington and Warren counties have been stricken with the virus, the Glens Falls Post-Star reported on Monday.
Localities are differing in how they publicize the outbreaks.
Rensselaer County is actively offering daily updates on positive cases and fatalities, while Albany County has generally been keeping updates limited to only the county-run Shaker Place.
Schenectady County has been releasing information on their county-run facility only when directly asked and contends the burden to release on other facilities should be on the individual providers.
“The Ingersoll numbers came to us just last week and we’re constantly evaluating how we’re letting the public know when there’s a cluster,” said county Manager Rory Fluman on Tuesday.
To date, 23 county residents of died of the illness, half of them residents of long-term care facilities.
The state Department of Health is publicly identifying adult-care facilities once five deaths occur at those facilities.
But a new database, last updated on Monday, identifies only New York City-area facilities, and does not list Ingersoll Place Assisted Living or Diamond Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center despite passing that threshold.
Asked on Tuesday evening if the state would begin releasing information on upstate facilities, an agency spokesman said, “As previously stated, any nursing homes or adult-care facilities reporting fewer than five fatalities are excluded for privacy purposes.”
Fluman called for privately-run facilities to be more transparent.
“There’s a bit of pressure for the larger corporate [facilities] to make sure that this information doesn’t get out and that’s something we take very seriously,” Fluman said. “To me, it’s inexcusable if they’re choosing money over patients. We’re not going to be polite with these large operators if there’s a true health disaster happening in the building.”
While no patients have tested positive at the county-run Glendale Home, one employee has tested positive, according to county officials, who did not provide additional information.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order last week requiring nursing homes to notify residents and their families within 24 hours if a resident tests positive or if there is a coronavirus-related death.
Cuomo said on Tuesday he wasn’t aware of any operators dodging the new rules.
“I’m sure there are complaints out there that I haven’t heard, but normally when you have a significant, significant number, I hear about it and I haven’t heard anything about it,” Cuomo said.
A reporter asked what the governor would tell those fearing for their loved ones in facilities shrouded in secrecy.
“Well, they have a right to know and that is a responsibility of the nursing home,” Cuomo said. “The nursing home has to inform family members of the status of a person in a nursing home.”