Cuomo to allow nursing home visitations while pols condemn ‘toxic’ conduct

Stanislawa Cybulski, 82, a patient at The New Jewish Home, a nursing home facility, receives the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacist Jessica Sahni in the Manhattan borough of New York City
REUTERS/Yuki Iwamura

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration is planning to allow indoor visitations for families in nursing homes, if infection rates in the county remain below 5%, without a testing requirement.

But despite a relatively mild press conference on the topic on Monday afternoon, Cuomo is still facing backlash from Albany lawmakers looking to snatch back emergency powers collected by the governor as part of the state of emergency imposed in March 2020.

Earlier in the day, eleven state Democratic Committee members submitted a resolution to censure the governor for conduct they deem as unbecoming of the office. This included the nursing home deaths found by Attorney General Letitia James to underreported by 50%, failure to share information about this with the state legislature and threatening behavior toward Assemblyman Ron Kim.

“Actions have consequences. I consider it my responsibility as a representative of the Democrats in my community to hold members of our party accountable, from City Council up to the Governor,” State Committee Member and a Democratic District Leader from Queens Emilia Decaudin said. “The continued wrongdoing of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo must be repudiated, or else we are no better than the Republicans who fail to hold their own leaders accountable, out of fear and self-preservation.”

Julio Peña, a district leader and a state committee leader from Brooklyn, issued a statement calling the governor’s behavior “toxic.”

Resolution to Censure Governor Cuomo

In response to a question regarding subpoenas sent to his office regarding the federal investigation into the same controversy, Cuomo brushed it off as Trump-era politics.

“We have had requests from the Department of Justice since last year when President Trump accused Democratic states of the COVID problem – well, let’s be accurate, President Trump first denied the COVID problem… The DOJ then sent four states, Democratic states only, requests for information. That was back in August. Remember New York is No. 34 in terms of nursing home deaths.”

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker outlined that while tests are not mandatory for families to see loved ones in nursing homes, it is recommended. But testing for counties with 5-10%, family members will need to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours. If the infection rate of a county is higher than 10%, only compassion care visits will be allowed.

If visitors have had two doses of the vaccine and it has been 14 days since their last shot, there will be no need to test, according to Zucker, but it is still encouraged on the belief that an individual could still be carrying it in their nasal passage.

Mask wearing will still be a requirement and this policy will go into effect on Friday, Feb. 26.

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