NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Criticism of Gov. Andrew Cuomo is intensifying over his handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, some families of loved ones who died renewed their cries for an investigation, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

READ MORE: Siena Poll: Despite Controversy Over Nursing Home Deaths, New Yorkers Still Approve Of Gov. Cuomo’s Handling Of Pandemic

Members of the group Voices For Seniors clutched photos of their loved ones.

“She used to sing. She used to sing beautiful songs,” one person said.

“He was only in this rehabilitation for 11 days,” another said.

They rallied outside the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, demanding a federal probe.

“Gov. Cuomo has not been telling us the truth. We need the truth,” Haydee Pabey said.


The state previously reported the nursing home resident death toll was 8,500. Newly released numbers show it’s actually nearly 15,000.

“People want answers and they weren’t getting answers. And that’s what I feel bad about,” Cuomo said Wednesday.

The governor again said he was to blame for creating what he calls an information “void” by prioritizing getting information to the Department of Justice instead of the state Legislature and public.

“If you were so focused on that but meanwhile you still had time to write a book to talk about your successes,” Pabey said.

READ MORE: Gov. Cuomo Takes Responsibility For Information ‘Void’ On Nursing Homes, Insists There Was No Cover-Up


Angry families also still want to know why the state health department last March ordered nursing home patients with COVID-19 be returned to nursing homes rather than kept in hospitals.

“Why would you put COVID-positive patients in with the most vulnerable?” Tracey Alvino said.

On Monday, the governor defended that directive.

“Residents who were leaving the hospitals were not likely to be contagious. They were going to be what’s called ‘cohorted,’ cared for in areas that are separate,” Cuomo said.

On Wednesday, he doubled down.

“The March 25 order was done after guidance by Trump’s CDC and CMS, so if you want to say it was wrong, then you have to say Trump was wrong in the CDC and CMS,” Cuomo said.

But the state attorney general’s preliminary report last month found many nursing homes “failed to comply with critical infection control policies.”

As for whether the DOJ will launch a probe, it hasn’t said.

Last month, the Cuomo administration said it had concerns about double-counting deaths between hospitals and nursing homes, so at first just listed the death at the facility it occurred with the intention of updating numbers later.

The administration said the total number of deaths in the state never changed.

Alice Gainer