Finding True America: The 'forgotten' seniors
Updated 17:14, 26-Apr-2022
Global Stringer

New York state resident Alexa Rivera recently lost her mother, Anna Martinez, to COVID-19 at a nursing home. Overwhelmed by sorrow, she blamed the nursing home's inaction and unpreparedness for her mother's sickness.

Citing "an urgent need to expand hospital capacity," New York state issued a blanket rule in 2020 that requires nursing homes to admit new or returning residents regardless of their COVID-19 status. However, due to the shortage of medical staff and resources, nursing homes often fail to separate patients from elderly residents who remain highly vulnerable to the virus. 

An NBC News investigation found that after a Long Island nursing home was required to take recovering COVID-19 patients under the state policy, an outbreak of the virus in the spring of 2020 killed at least 24 residents, only three of whom had been transferred from hospitals.

"Without any proper isolation, any proper PPE or adequate staffing, it was a disaster from the very beginning," Rivera said. "It showed the systematic failure that has been happening for many years prior to COVID-19 and opened a Pandora's box of what has been going on for many years."

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