HYDE PARK, NY—Senator Sue Serino today released the statement below in response to state claims that the March 25th directive that sent COVID-positive patients into nursing homes did not contribute to the high death rates in the facilities: 

“This is a report released by the very agency that issued the original March 25th guidance, so of course it’s going to fit their narrative. These facilities were an afterthought to the state from day one and the March 25th directive is just one of the many missteps the state has made when it comes to protecting vulnerable New Yorkers in these facilities. 

Implying that dedicated staff is to blame is a new low. The state needs to step up and take responsibility. The state knew these facilities were particularly vulnerable, yet they took no meaningful steps to protect them. There were no additional supplies, PPE, or qualified staff provided—or funding dedicated—directly to these facilities during this time. For months, I have offered idea after idea to better support these facilities and protect residents, and they have been ignored. 

Many issues transcend politics, and this should be one. It’s not about finding someone to blame. It’s about getting to the bottom of the problems so the state can do better to protect these residents and support those who care for them.  

That’s why I have been leading the call for an independent investigation and that’s why I am pushing for the Legislature to finally set a date for a hearing on this critically important topic

Every day that goes by leaves more and more New Yorkers vulnerable. These are parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, veterans—valued members of our community—and the state has to do better by them immediately.”

Senator Sue Serino is the Ranking Member of the NYS Senate Aging Committee.