How many New York nursing residents really died? How was the pandemic handled within nursing homes? And, what changes need to made if New York sees a second-wave of COVID-19?

That's what some lawmakers in Albany are demanding to know as we approach fall, colder weather, the flu season, and a potential second-wave.

Republican Senators Jim Tedisco and Daphne Jordan, and Republican Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh held a press conference Wednesday to announce legislation that would create a temporary state commission to examine and answer those questions. The commission would have the power the subpoena state Health Department officials for answers in the 'independent, bi-partisan' investigation, lawmakers said.

The question of the actual number of nursing home deaths is one that is under scrutiny based on the way the state had counted those deaths, as reported by the Associated Press:

New York’s coronavirus death toll in nursing homes, already among the highest in the nation, could actually be a significant undercount. Unlike every other state with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there.

The bill also has a handful of co-sponsors in the Senate, all Republicans, including 51st District Senator Jim Seward.

The group says Democrat Assemblyman Ron Kim has agreed to carry the bill in the lower house.

According to the website, the number of deaths at New York long-term care facilities is above 6,600 since mid-March. The site references data obtained from the NYS Department of Health but also notes that number does not account for those residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities who died in the hospital.


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