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OpinionColumnistsRandi F. Marshall

Incomplete coronavirus nursing home data won't cut it

A. Holly Patterson Campus nursing home in Uniondale.

A. Holly Patterson Campus nursing home in Uniondale. Credit: Howard Schnapp

State officials finally released more detailed nursing home data Friday.

But it was far from complete.

The data included nursing home fatalities, but only if the facilities reported and only if there were five or more deaths.

Perhaps the only thing that’s clear is that what we don’t know far outpaces what we do know.

The list does not include the number of residents of each home or the number of COVID-19 cases in each home. It doesn’t even indicate how many homes reported data, how many homes had no fatalities, or how many homes did not report their information to the state, or did so infrequently. What’s more, the state notes that the data include deaths confirmed to be COVID-19 related, and those presumed to be related. In the future, the state said, it will separate those two categories.

The data included just eight Suffolk and 10 Nassau nursing homes. Does that mean that those were the only homes Long Island wide with five or more deaths? No, especially since the list doesn’t even include situations we know about, like A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in Uniondale, which has had at least 17 deaths, according to the Nassau University Medical Center, which operates it.

More troublingly, the list included just four adult-care group homes statewide, perhaps because they’re smaller and each has fewer deaths, or perhaps because they’re not reporting complete data; there’s no way to know. And even that list seems to have problems. All four seem to be based on Long Island – but only one is listed as such. Sunrise of Smithtown, which reported six deaths, is listed in Nassau County, even though it’s in Suffolk. Sunrise of Dix Hills, with eight deaths, is listed as being in New York County, ie. Manhattan. Atria Park of Great Neck, also with six deaths, is listed as being in Livingston County, and Babylon Beach House Home for Adults is listed as being in Orleans County.

CP Nassau’s Bayville adult group home – where 37 of 46 residents tested positive for the virus – wasn’t listed at all, perhaps because only four residents have died so far. 

A top state official told The Point that the state is seeking more comprehensive data from the facilities, and will continue to revise the lists they’ve provided. That official also noted that the state is working to deal with immediate emergencies that occur at the facilities statewide. That includes moving patients and providing personal protective equipment or ventilators to nursing or group care homes. 

“That process won’t stop until the curve is fully flattened,” the official said.

What we do know from the initial data is horrific. The highest number of fatalities in Suffolk County came at the Carillon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which has had 29 reported deaths. In Nassau, meanwhile, the Long Beach Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has had 22 deaths.

But it’s likely the tragedy goes far deeper than that.

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