Thousands of elderly coronavirus patients returned to nursing home facilities, potentially putting vulnerable residents at risk, under a controversial executive order from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
According to a count by the Associated Press, more than 4,300 elderly patients recovering from COVID-19 were sent back because of a March executive order meant to free up hospital beds.
The policy was reversed earlier this month after more than 5,300 nursing home residents died from the virus, with Cuomo ordering the facilities not to readmit COVID-19 patients until they are fully recovered from the virus.
Cuomo defended the policy, saying it was a preventative effort meant to ensure hospitals would not run short on beds if there was a massive influx of patients during the pandemic.
“At one time, hospital beds were precious. When we started this, remember, the whole question was will you have enough hospital beds? We were in a scramble to provide more hospital beds,” the Democrat said. “The last thing you would be doing would be gratuitously saying we’re going to keep a person in a hospital bed who doesn’t need a hospital bed who could be at another facility. You would never do that. It would be reckless. It would be negligent.”
Many families disagree.