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A nurse from Manhattan who has been working in a nursing home during the coronavirus pandemic, spoke to OAN's Jack Posobiec yesterday to give her account of conditions in those homes.
Patrice Russo worked in an eight story nursing home. She was a volunteer from Massachusetts, who joined about 1,000 nurses who answered Governor Andrew Cuomo's call for medical personnel to join New York's fight to curb the spread of the virus and care for COVID-19 patients.
Posobiec asked Russo about Cuomo's March 25 executive order instructing COVID-19 positive but recovering patients to be returned to nursing homes for continuing care.
He asks "One of the things that we've learned is that Governor Cuomo issued an executive order stating that patients who were infected would essentially be placed into nursing homes with people who had not yet been infected. Is that something that you saw?"
"Yeah," she said, "that's exactly what happened. And I was unaware of the order at the time. I just, one day I went to work, and one of the patients that we got in was from being discharged from a hospital and came in as a COVID positive, recovering, patient. And that's when it first started. We started seeing it more and more, and they would literally just bring them in, and they would be placed in the same suite as a healthy, non-COVID patient."
Cuomo's March 25 directive required that nursing homes accept patients that had tested positive for COVID-19, which he was heavily criticized for due to the dangers it posed to those who had not been infected.
Not only this, but Cuomo then denied he had made the directive, deleting it from the government website altogether.
Nursing-home-related deaths due to the coronavirus have now exceeded 6,000, which is more than 25 percent of the total coronavirus-related deaths in the state, which currently sits at 29,653 out of the 376,309 total cases in the state. The number of recoveries is nearing 66,000.
New York State has had a number of coronavirus-specific facilities that have largely went unused, and then eventually folded.
A temporary field hospital, worth $21 million, designated specifically for aiding and tackling the coronavirus shut down without serving a single patient.
The USS Comfort, a ship used to treat coronavirus patients, was sent away from its location in New York after Cuomo told President Trump that it was no longer needed, despite it being filled to capacity during its time in Cuomo's state.
"I said we don't really need the Comfort anymore. It did give us comfort, but we don’t need it anymore, so if they need to deploy it somewhere else, they should take it," Cuomo said.
The Javits Center on Manhattan's west side housed a temporary field hospital which closed after a short time as well, serving around 1,000 patients. The reason for closing was that many believed the pandemic had reached its peak at the end of April.
It is uncertain how many more lives could have been served and saved had these field hospitals served the coronavirus positive population in recovery, as opposed to sending those patients back to nursing homes to infect others.