Local officials ask governor to ‘make something meaningful happen’ at Albion nursing home

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion has been devastated by Covid-19 with 20 residents dying after contracting the virus. The 120-bed facility has had 78 residents test positive for Covid-19.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2020 at 7:06 pm

Three local state legislators and the leader of the Orleans County Legislature sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo today, asking him to “make something meaningful happen” at an nursing home in Albion, where 20 residents have died from Covid-19.

The 120-bed Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center has had 78 residents test positive for the coronavirus.

A letter today was sent to Gov. Cuomo and was signed by State Sen. Robert Ortt, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Assemblyman Michael Norris and County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson.

“Short of requesting the National Guard being called up, we are at a loss of where to go next as the numbers continue to rise,” according to the letter from Hawley, Ortt, Norris and Johnson.

A week ago, Assemblyman Steve Hawley sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo asking the governor to investigate the outbreak of cases and deaths at The Villages. Hawley said several 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

“I have called the governor’s office numerous times, and my team and I have spent days sending letters asking for more formal, state-level investigations to take place, but we’ve heard nothing back so far,” Hawley said today in a news release. “If Gov. Cuomo truly cares about the elderly population, as he claims on his daily ‘press briefings,’ he needs to get back to us immediately. The need for state support in this investigation is paramount to holding responsible parties accountable and stopping the spread of sickness and death in our most vulnerable population.”

In the letter, the four legislators say 25 staff members at the nursing home have reached out to them about the operations at The Villages.

“We receive many calls a day from relatives frantic about the safety and well-being of their loved ones,” the four legislators wrote in the letter to Cuomo. “We are sure you are as passionate as we are about ensuring that the residents of this home receive the care, respect and comfort they deserve.”

Cuomo on May 10 issued a new directive requiring all staff at nursing homes be tested twice a week for Covid-19. Nursing homes in the state have until today to submit a plan to the state on how they will meet the new testing requirement. The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments confirmed today that all staff and residents at The Villages were tested for Covid-19 this week.

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