Assemblyman Doug Smith (5th Assembly District) has signed on with his fellow Assembly Minority members in a letter to the chairman of the New York State Committee on Aging, of which Smith is a sitting member, requesting he convene hearings to review and investigate New Yorks policies, decisions and protocols that were utilized during the COVID-19 testing and isolation practices with regard to state nursing homes.
Over 5,000 deaths in state nursing homes from COVID means 25 percent of all COVID deaths in the state have occurred in our nursing homes. Thats something that cant be ignored, Smith said. The damage this virus could do to our senior population was stressed early and often, since a formal response to the pandemic started.
To see that standards havent been maintained is abhorrent, and responsible parties must be investigated to the fullest extent possible. It wont bring back anyone weve lost, but it will give us the knowledge of how to better proceed moving forward and hold parties accountable. Its equally important that we find out how this began; if incompetence from the top resulted in this devastating loss of life, it needs to be addressed.
Despite the attorney generals office and state Health Department looking into these incidents closely, Smith believes that another body must investigate what went wrong to ensure a thorough inquiry.