As many as 98 residents of a Manhattan nursing home may have died of the novel coronavirus, according to a statement Friday from the facility, marking one of the deadliest nursing home outbreaks reported since the pandemic reached the United States.
The Isabella Geriatric Center said 46 of its residents who tested positive for coronavirus have died, along with another 52 residents who were “suspected” to have been infected. Some died in the home while others died in the hospital.
As recently as Thursday, a state database of nursing home fatalities listed just 13 deaths at Isabella. The nursing home confirmed the additional deaths after NY1 reported that many residents who died had not been counted and that the facility was using refrigerator trailers to store some of the bodies.
Isabella officials said the nursing home had followed state and federal guidelines for infection control but couldn’t sufficiently test residents and workers as the virus spread through the 705-bed facility.
“Unfortunately, Isabella, like all other nursing homes in New York City, initially had limited access to widespread and consistent in-house testing to quickly diagnose our residents and staff,” read a statement from the nursing home. “Sadly, while we have always had daily health screenings of staff, this hampered our ability to identify those who were infected and asymptomatic, despite our efforts to swiftly separate anyone who presented symptoms.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said he had visited the home and that the city had delivered “substantial amounts” of personal protective equipment to the site over the past month, including 12,000 protective masks.
“This is a staggering toll we’re hearing about now, and I’m shocked” de Blasio said. “This is to me an inestimable loss. It’s hard to imagine so many people lost in one place.”
Following the nursing home’s disclosure, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) and the state attorney general to investigate how nursing homes across New York share information with state officials.