Public Advocate Warns 'We Don't Have The Luxury Of Time In Responding To This'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some say family members living in New York nursing homes are like prisoners being held in captivity.

They can’t reach them, as the number of coronavirus deaths statewide are spiking, and some wonder what the state and city are doing to help, reports CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.

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A truck acts as a temporary morgue outside New Jewish Nursing Home on West 106th Street in Manhattan.

The lawyer for the King David Rehab Center in Gravesend says it has made similar arrangements for bodies after COVID-19 patients were transferred there last month.

“The percentage of loss of life is getting higher in nursing homes compared to the hospitals,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Statewide there have been nearly 2,500 deaths in nursing home and adult care facilities.

An employee who doesn’t want to be identified at the Crown Heights Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation gave CBS2 a video from last week showing nurses begging for COVID tests after seeing 22 deaths in seven days.

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Representatives for The Chateau at Brooklyn Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Sheepshead Bay dispute allegations that dead patients were being left in their beds.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams says he has received multiple calls with similar concerns.

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He and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams are asking the state to mandate homes enable video communication with residents, provide personal protection equipment to staff and allow random inspections.

The inspections are needed “to see how these patients are being treated,” said Adams.

“We’ve gotten calls about bodies being piled up in nursing homes,” said Williams. “We don’t have the luxury of time in responding to this. The mayor and the governor have thousand to tens of thousands of folks.”

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Another “Jane Doe” who wants to remain anonymous says her mom is at a facility in Flatbush.

“The doctors are not calling, family members don’t know if their loved one or family members are still alive,” she said.

Stephen Hanse heads the organization that reps nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

“By law their family and loved ones have to be informed,” he said. “We’re looking for first and foremost assistance to bring in workers.”

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The governor’s office did not directly answer CBS2’s questions about whether that help would be provided.