STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has wreaked havoc on nursing homes and adult care facilities throughout New York, with more than 3,500 deaths within the state as of Tuesday 125 of which were on Staten Island.
The stress of housing the boroughs most vulnerable population and the overflow of a strained health care system has caused concerns in multiple nursing homes across the Island, according to interviews with approximately a dozen health care workers and family members of residents.
In March, Dr. Ginny Mantello, the boroughs director of health and wellness, told the Advance/SILive.com that nursing homes were a critical piece in the puzzle to lessen the burden on hospital systems.
The least we can do is say the ones that are not critically ill and not in an ICU setting and not on a ventilator should be sent to the next step down level, Mantello said, which is not a triage tent, its not a building we stood up to take patients, its not a dormitory or a hotel its a nursing home."
That approach, according to Mantello, was executed and allowed hospitals to care for the most severe coronavirus patients throughout the height of the outbreak in the borough.
After weeks of extremely limited testing, Staten Islands 10 skilled nursing facilities, the Advance/SILive.com exclusively reported, will have all of its staff and residents tested in conjunction with a borough-wide partnership.
Mantello credits nursing home facilities across the Island for recognizing that keeping the coronavirus out of individual homes was an impossibility, and taking the the approach that it was the homes moral duty ... their obligation to the community, to the hospitals, to everybody, to be able to help decant these patients out of the hospitals in an effort to reduce hospital overload.
The extent of the role nursing homes played in reducing hospital capacity is becoming increasingly clear, with dozens of senior residents being discharged from hospitals to the care of the nursing home facilities in the borough.
Since the onset of the virus, Staten Island University Hospitals two campuses have discharged 105 COVID-19 positive patients to skilled nursing facilities across the Island. This total includes patients who were initially at the nursing homes.
The total number of coronavirus patients discharged from Richmond University Medical Center to nursing homes was not available.
Life on lockdown: Coronavirus in NYC
On March 25, the New York State Department of Health issued a directive that No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH (nursing home) solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.
During this global health emergency, all NHs must comply with the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals to NHs, said the directive.
The state Health Department did not provide the number of patients who were discharged from hospitals into nursing homes throughout New York by the time of publication.
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo firmly referenced the states directive and said nursing homes are required to have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, isolate coronavirus positive residents, only re-admit positive coronavirus residents who can be cared for properly, and notify all residents and their family members if any resident tests positive or dies as a result of the virus.
Cuomo also announced that the states Health Department will be partnering with Attorney General Letitia James to investigate violations of the mandates, saying that facilities could be fined $10,000 per violation or even lose their operating licenses.
Beginning Thursday, nursing homes must immediately report all actions they have taken to comply with state Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directives. The New York State Department of Health will investigate those who have not complied with those guidelines.
Photo shows the entrance to the Carmel Richmond Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Dongan Hills on Friday, April 17, 2020. (Staten Island Advance/ Paul Liotta)
NURSING HOMES PERFORMED VALIANT EFFORT
In addition to re-admitted patients deemed stable by hospitals, some of the boroughs largest nursing homes, including Carmel Richmond Health Care and Rehabilitation Center, in Dongan Hills, and Eger Health Care and Rehabilitation Center, in Egbertville, have taken coronavirus patients who were not previously residents.
Carmel Richmond has admitted a total of 19 COVID-19-positive patients from the hospital as of April 22, as required by the state, according to Jon Goldberg, a spokesman for the Archdiocese, which runs the facility. As of last Friday, Eger Health Care and Rehabilitation Center had admitted the same amount, with more expected.
As ArchCare noted in its statement last Friday, the number of deaths by facility released by the state on Friday dont distinguish between infections that may have originated in a particular nursing home and those that were introduced to the nursing home by already-infected patients coming from the hospital, Goldberg said.
The statement came after a New York state survey determined at least 44 people died as a result of the coronavirus at the Dongan Hills nursing home. It was the only Staten Island nursing home on the list, which included any nursing home with more than five reported deaths.
However, Borough President James Oddo, who has called for more action to protect nursing homes, said in an interview with the Advance that hes worried that the list could paint an inaccurate portrait of how the virus is affecting the states most vulnerable.
I dont think that number, in a vacuum, and having Carmel Richmond alone on that list, is fair to those heroes that work in that facility and run that facility and are doing their very best under circumstances that they did not create, said Oddo, who added that he had only positive experiences when his loved ones were in that nursing home.
That sentiment is furthered, as some nursing homes including New Broadview Manor in South Beach have received no patients from hospitals during the pandemic, the facility said.
Without additional context, the number of Covid-related deaths in a given nursing home is a misleading statistic,'' the ArchCare statement said last week. "On their own, these figures do not accurately reflect the overall quality of care a facility provides or its diligence in trying to control the infection.
New York City announced on Thursday that it would surge supplies and staff to nursing homes across the city, including multiple borough homes.
Mantello, despite the lack of testing and PPE available, said the efforts performed by nursing homes throughout Staten Island was very valiant, to say the least."
Our nursing home partners stepping up was very brave on their part, she said, adding that the facilities were forced to stretch themselves to the limit in order to help overall hospital capacity in light of earlier projections, which forecasted long-term overflow at hospitals across the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered supplies to Richmond University Medical Center today along side him were Borough President James Oddo, Councilwoman Debi Rose and Assemblymember Charles Fall. April 20,2020. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)
Regardless of the new patients admitted into nursing home facilities from hospitals, borough senior living centers reported positive coronavirus cases even before the state mandate as a variety of factors, including staff with limited PPE, could cause the virus to transmit easily.
It doesnt matter if a nursing home has 20 patients or 30 from a hospital that are COVID positive -- remember, they have staff going in and out daily, said Mantello.
(COVID-19) is in every nursing home, an ArchCare spokesman said previously. Theres absolutely no way to contain it, no matter how hard they try."
Concerns about the availability of testing within nursing homes and adequate PPE have been strongly aired by facilities, officials and health care workers alike.
In an interview with the New York Times, Scott LaRue, the president of ArchCare, said: I cant test, I dont have PPE .. What am I supposed to do?
Testing for the coronavirus at individual nursing homes has been an impossibility so far, effectively handcuffing the facilities, and with larger hospital systems such as Northwell Health fighting for PPE, smaller institutions like skilled nursing facilities were left in a somewhat untenable position, Oddo said.
In the face of criticism against nursing homes and how individual facilities handled the outbreak, Oddo said: If youre going to be angry at someone, be angry at us. Be angry at us in government.
In a crisis to this degree, individual hospitals, individual hospital systems, individual skilled nursing facilities they have a responsibility, but ultimately the only entity out there that could provide the answer to the problem was government, and we didnt, because there are nurses and aides walking through skilled nursing facilities without the proper PPE, Oddo said.
A sign on Manor Road gives strength to Staten Islanders. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. (Staten Island Advance/ Jan Somma-Hammel)
PERSPECTIVE FROM THE FRONT LINE
A nurse in a Staten Island nursing home, who answered emailed questions from the Advance/SILive.com from her hospital bed in Staten Island University Hospital in Ocean Breeze, said the coronavirus continues to take a heavy toll on the health care workers in the boroughs senior facilities.
After attending to 47 patients during a single shift on April 2, the woman said she began to feel body aches, chills and headaches. The next day, the woman said she called her sister-in-law to take her 10-month-old baby in fear she could infect her child.
After heading to a City MD, a chest X-ray confirmed pneumonia, though the facility did not have enough capacity to test for the coronavirus at the time. After receiving antibiotics, her chest pain progressed and her fever rose before she was taken to RUMC.
Within days, she returned home, but ended up calling the state Health Department to have a coronavirus test conducted and was swabbed the next day at 11 a.m.
Her condition continued to stagger, with her oxygen dropping to dangerous levels. Family and friends were checking on me, urging me to go back to the hospital, she said.
After days of pain and struggling to breathe, I rushed to SIUH ER Friday April 10 around 4:30 a.m. and was admitted for hypoxia -- low oxygen, the woman said.
Days later, the woman was discharged; however, she said she felt a lack of proper PPE contributed to my illness.
We were being told to use one surgical mask during our shift,'' she said. "I was one nurse for 40-50 almost every night at work.
This photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDCs laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. (CDC via AP) APAP
A CORONAVIRUS TRAGEDY
The reality within nursing homes for some families despite what some officials say has been concerted efforts to handle the pandemic proactively has been bleak.
For one woman, whose 89-year-old mother was a long-term resident of Carmel Richmond, the coronavirus situation in the facility accelerated rapidly.
Early in March, the woman said she noticed visiting protocols being changed at the nursing home. A week later, visitors were not allowed in the nursing home.
The following week, she was told patients had tested positive for the coronavirus but that her mother was not symptomatic. Then I was called and told that she had a fever, but she didnt have the virus, she said.
Just days later, she was told her mother had the coronavirus and was dehydrated. That was on Sunday, and then Monday night they called me and told me she died," she said.
See the rest here:
- A Maine island is being billed as a private pandemic playground for the wealthy elite - Bangor Daily News - July 11th, 2020
- Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor - Shelter Island Reporter - Shelter Island Reporter - July 11th, 2020
- Feds announce $7 million plan to seal Prince of Wales Island uranium mine - KRBD - July 11th, 2020
- High school fall sports season on Staten Island still very much up in the air, says AD - SILive.com - July 11th, 2020
- Deiveson Figueiredo Tests Positive for COVID-19 Ahead of UFC Fight Island Event - Bleacher Report - July 11th, 2020
- Island Heights, N.J.: A Magical Place Thats a Step Out of Time - The New York Times - July 11th, 2020
- This private island is for sale in Loch Lomond, Scotland and it's the same price as a London flat - HouseBeautiful.com - July 11th, 2020
- Two new cases bring Island total to 40 - Martha's Vineyard Times - July 11th, 2020
- Beware of jellyfish: Padre Island National Seashore tells visitors to pack vinegar to treat stings - mySA - July 11th, 2020
- Personality test: What Kings Island ride are you? - The Cincinnati Enquirer - July 11th, 2020
- Kings Island opens to the public Friday. Here are all the new rules and requirements - The Cincinnati Enquirer - July 11th, 2020
- Island at 38 confirmed cases - Martha's Vineyard Times - July 11th, 2020
- Kings Island employee tests positive for coronavirus - Hamilton Journal News - July 11th, 2020
- From hurricanes to coronavirus, three Puerto Rican athletes share their stories of what the island has faced - ESPN - July 11th, 2020
- 'They are just doing their own thing on an island': Doctor wants more COVID-19 coordination with Test Nebraska - KETV Omaha - July 11th, 2020
- Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. head fired over 'racially and sexually offensive' remarks - New York Post - June 20th, 2020
- Empire Outlets, Staten Island Mall: What Phase 2 means for Staten Island shoppers - SILive.com - June 20th, 2020
- Braised in the South food truck will settle down on Johns Island this summer - Charleston City Paper - June 20th, 2020
- A phased reopening - Thegardenisland.com - June 20th, 2020
- Boch provides a boost for Island charities - Martha's Vineyard Times - June 20th, 2020
- Big Island Road Closures, June 20 to June 26 - Big Island Now - June 20th, 2020
- Diego, the tortoise who saved his entire species, finally retires to uninhabited island - CNN - June 20th, 2020
- Town of Grand Island partners with local agencies to address questions related to solar energy - Niagara Frontier Publications - June 20th, 2020
- UFC fills out first four cards for Fight Island debut in July - ESPN - June 20th, 2020
- The island with a key to our future - BBC News - June 20th, 2020
- Interisland travelers tell all - Thegardenisland.com - June 20th, 2020
- MTM On The Road: A Tour Around Mackinac Island - 9 & 10 News - 9&10 News - June 20th, 2020
- Large mass of grasses creates floating island in Muskegon - WNEM Saginaw - June 20th, 2020
- Love Island's Malin Andersson posts poignant tribute to Sophie Gradon two years after suicide - Mirror Online - June 20th, 2020
- Town Council considering ordinance to require mask wearing on island - Block Island Times - June 20th, 2020
- Think twice before booking off-island travel, says Jersey Consumer Council - ITV News - June 20th, 2020
- UFC 251 -- Which fighter faces the most pressure on Fight Island? - ESPN - June 20th, 2020
- Islands of Ireland: Whiddy in the same boat - Irish Examiner - June 1st, 2020
- Mackinac Island eases into summer season with soft, soft opening - MLive.com - June 1st, 2020
- Watch Rivers Cuomo cover Jesus Christ Superstar song for Islands In The Zoom sessions - NME - June 1st, 2020
- Hundreds gather at Brown's Island: 'We are going to protest peacefully' - wtvr.com - June 1st, 2020
- New COVID-19 case with ties to San Juan Island under investigation - SanJuanIslander.com - June 1st, 2020
- Meet kumu the whitesaddle goatfish - Thegardenisland.com - June 1st, 2020
- Cruise the Greek Islands with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon - The New Yorker - June 1st, 2020
- No new COVID-19 cases reported on Big Island - West Hawaii Today - June 1st, 2020
- Staten Island obituaries for May 31, 2020 - silive.com - June 1st, 2020
- Staten Island ShopRite melee ignites feuding factions on masks in pandemic - silive.com - June 1st, 2020
- Allow Staten Island students to have outdoor graduation ceremonies, city official says - SILive.com - June 1st, 2020
- The island that can save America | TheHill - The Hill - June 1st, 2020
- Long wait to reopen is over for Vancouver Island gyms Vancouver Island Free Daily - vancouverislandfreedaily.com - June 1st, 2020
- A Vancouver Island Road Trip of Crisp Wines and Gigantic Trees - Cond Nast Traveler - May 15th, 2020
- Up-Island towns uneasy about summer influx - Martha's Vineyard Times - May 15th, 2020
- Rock Island County reports another COVID-19 death - Quad City Times - May 15th, 2020
- Kite-surfing and social distancing, but no Sullivans at Castle Island - The Boston Globe - May 15th, 2020
- A grand opening - Thegardenisland.com - May 15th, 2020
- Long before Covid-19, these islands were a refuge from plague - CNN - May 15th, 2020
- Booth doing 'virtual' concert to raise Trooper Island funds - WTVQ - May 15th, 2020
- Love Island's Finley Tapp creates Scottish lockdown survival kit while isolating with Paige Turley - Daily Record - May 15th, 2020
- The Womens Jail at Rikers Island Is Named for My Grandmother. She Would Not Be Proud. - The New York Times - May 15th, 2020
- Top Cuban Official Accuses America Of Committing Acts Of Terrorism Against Island Nation - CBS Miami - May 15th, 2020
- Grand Island Public Schools Foundation launching Give GIPS Week - Grand Island Independent - May 15th, 2020
- District Court judge: City of Bellevue cannot engage in 'island annexation' - Omaha World-Herald - May 15th, 2020
- Rare blue dragons are washing up on the Padre Island National Seashore - CNN - May 15th, 2020
- Staten Island Home of the Week: Privately-gated community with panoramic views, $3M - SILive.com - May 11th, 2020
- Antibody testing begins on the Big Island - West Hawaii Today - May 11th, 2020
- Hardwood logging on Manus Island has not delivered promised local benefits, report finds - The Guardian - May 11th, 2020
- Coronavirus claims 11 more Staten Islanders; more than 2K released from Island hospitals - SILive.com - May 11th, 2020
- South Padre Island properties unphased by COVID-19 housing market, realtor explains - KGBT-TV - May 11th, 2020
- Love Island's Malin Andersson felt 'shame' for staying with abusive ex after he 'beat her up' - Mirror Online - May 11th, 2020
- Love Island 2020 could be set for surprise return this Autumn after cancellation - RadioTimes - May 11th, 2020
- Tunnel to Towers Foundation working to take care of Staten Island - SILive.com - May 11th, 2020
- Staten Island obituaries for May 10, 2020 - SILive.com - May 11th, 2020
- Reveling in the Enigmatic Beauty of Easter Island - The New York Times - May 11th, 2020
- Help for parents and teachers; author gives tips - Shelter Island Reporter - Shelter Island Reporter - May 11th, 2020
- NYC's Coney Island Beach in Cyclone of Confusion for Summer - THE CITY - May 11th, 2020
- Danny Dyer says Love Island is a "pile of s**t" and leaves The Ranganation viewers - digitalspy.com - May 11th, 2020
- Island Luck CEO: No logic or rational in govt. decision making - EyeWitness News - May 11th, 2020
- Staten Island Zoo to host virtual meet and greet with exotic animals: How to attend - SILive.com - May 1st, 2020
- Artists campaign against Bristol Spike Island eviction of Howard Silverman - The Guardian - May 1st, 2020
- Coronavirus: Woman took son to Greek island to 'protect him from COVID-19' - Sky News - May 1st, 2020
- TSB investigation into Island Queen III incident issues three concerns - The Kingston Whig-Standard - May 1st, 2020
- This Tech Conference Is Being Held on an Animal Crossing Island - VICE - May 1st, 2020
- Island COVID-19 confirmed cases rise to 19 - Martha's Vineyard Times - May 1st, 2020
- VIRTUAL TOUR Island Farm: Going back in time to coastal farm life in the 1800s | The Coastland Times - The Coastland Times - May 1st, 2020
- Car thieves flocking to Staten Island during pandemic, many of them repeat offenders - SILive.com - May 1st, 2020