ALBANY — Three Capital Region legislators on Wednesday launched a new push for an independent review of COVID-related deaths in New York state nursing homes.
State Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville; State Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon; and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston went live with a statewide online petition drive calling for action on the subject.
More than 6,000 nursing home residents have died across New York during the COVID-19 pandemic. The issue has become a partisan football, with Republican criticism of the policies of the administration of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Jordan, Tedisco and Walsh are calling for a nonpartisan probe with bipartisan oversight, and the proposal they are pushing in the Legislature has gained Democratic co-sponsors. But they are upstate Republicans in a government dominated by downstate Democrats, and their effort has gained little traction otherwise.
Their latest effort is an attempt to goose along the proposal for an investigation, and for that investigation to have subpoena powers so it can force release of the actual number of nursing home deaths.
The Cuomo administration either doesn’t know or won’t say how many nursing home residents died of COVID. In a July report clearing itself and its policies of responsibility for the high death toll, the Health Department only cites a New York Times analysis in June that placed the toll at 6,432 deaths.