Hawley says more agencies investigating Covid-19 outbreak at The Villages
‘It’s just mind boggling and horrifically saddening what is going on over there.’ – Assemblyman Hawley
ALBION – State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said more agencies are investigating an outbreak of Covid-19 cases at The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion, where 17 residents have died from Covid-19.
“There is something gravely wrong at The Villages,” Hawley said this more on a conference call with about 50 local officials in Orleans County.
At The Villages, 68 of the residents have tested positive for Covid-19, out of 124 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the whole county.
Hawley said the nursing home and rehabilitation center wasn’t prepared for Covid-19, and the virus has spread through the center, resulting in the deaths of 17 people.
“It’s just mind boggling and horrifically saddening what is going on over there,” he said this morning.
Hawley on May 1 called the State Department of Health to investigate the crisis and how the facility has handled its response. But Hawley today said the DOH has tipped off The Villages about inspections.
Today, Hawley said other government agencies have become involved in the investigation, including the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Orleans County Sherriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
“My goal here is to get all the parties involved who can assist in making this investigation more thorough and complete,” Hawley said. “By involving all of these departments on all of these levels of government and public safety, we are ensuring that no stone is left unturned, and that our residents and staff at The Villages’ lives and quality of care are safeguarded.”
Hawley said he asked the state Department of Health back in October and November to take a close look at The Villages, which was among the lowest rated nursing homes in Western New York.
State Sen. Robert Ortt also was on the conference call this morning. He said the State Senate is asking for an independent investigation from the federal government in how the state’s policies during the pandemic has affected nursing homes.
The Villages isn’t the only nursing home in Western New York to suffer more than 10 deaths. The Newfane Rehabilitation and Health Center also has had 17 of its residents die from Covid-19.
The Buffalo News today reporting these nursing homes also have experiencing double0digit deaths: Father Baker Manor, 33 deaths; Harris Hill Nursing Facility, 19; Garden Gate Health Care Facility, 17; Seneca Health Care Center, 12; Absolut Care nursing home in East Aurora, 11; and Buffalo Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, 11.
Ortt said the nursing home residents were considered the most vulnerable to the virus from the beginning. Ortt said state policies may have put them in harm’s way.
He wants invetsigators to look at policies that allowed covid-19 positive people to be admitted into nursing homes, especially when there was capacity in hospitals to provide care for those patients.
Some nursing home staff that were Covid-positive also didn’t have self isolate for at least two weeks and fully recover from Covid before returning to work.
Ortt also said nursing home allowed Covid-positive residents to be in the same room with residents who tested negative.
“We need far better answers than we’ve got from the State Department of Health,” Ortt said.