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Courtesy of Cuomo's office
Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers his daily COVID-19, Coronavirus press briefing at Marist College on May 8.

With the death rate on a daily basis from COVID-19 in New York now reaching levels unseen since March 27, 207 as of May 9, Governor Andrew Cuomo seemed to backpedal on an earlier directive that nursing homes must readmit coronavirus patients after they’ve resolved.

Now a hospital cannot discharge a patient back to a nursing home until they test negative for the virus as opposed to a March 25 order that patients in nursing homes cannot be discriminated against based on their COVID-19 status.

As well as having adequate personal protective equipment and the capacity to isolate patients, the state is now requiring that staff get tested twice a week through diagnostic.

“Today we’re taking additional steps to protect residents of nursing homes,” Cuomo said. “If a nursing home cannot provide care for a person and provide the appropriate level of care for any reason they must transfer the person out of their facility. If they can’t find another facility they call the state Department of Health.”

According to Cuomo, nursing home administrators should not look at this directive as if they do not have other options as the state will accommodate their residents if need be in the increased hospital capacity organized by the governor earlier in the pandemic.

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, however, said the new directive does nullify the March 25 directive; they “coexist.”

What we’re saying is you still can’t discriminate entrance to a nursing home facility solely on the basis of being COVID positive or suspected COVID positive. This puts the obligation on hospitals saying the hospital cannot release a COVID positive patient into a nursing home facility until they test negative,” DeRosa said. “A nursing home also cannot accept a patient if they cannot care for them.”

Hospitals could either hold the COVID-19 positive patient or sent them to another facility that is not a nursing home, Cuomo said.

Cuomo has compared the death rates in nursing homes to fire and dry grass as well as a “feeding ground” for the virus.

Despite this directive, Cuomo continues to highlight the need for funding from the federal government as the need for social services increase and state revenue decreases.

New York would need up to $35 billion from the federal government if it is rebound from the pandemic this year alone, and the state has only received $23,000 for every COVID-19 case. Kentucky, a favorite example for Cuomo due to his ongoing tirades against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, received $337,000 per coronavirus patient, according to the governor.

This story first appeared on amny.com.

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