The official COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes across New York stands at 6,600. But that number may be far greater because the state only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who died after being transported to hospitals.
For Fox News Meteorologist Janice Dean, the stats on COVID-related nursing home deaths are personal because earlier this year she lost her elderly in-laws to the virus.
She said her family was not aware that her father-in-law had the coronavirus until it was revealed on his death certificate.
"We were getting updates from the nursing home, regular updates. And one Saturday morning, we get an update the end of March saying your dad's not feeling well and three hours later they call us back and tell us he's died," Dean told CBN News. "His mom was in the assisted living residence. Several days later she got ill, and she had to be brought to the hospital. And they diagnosed her with the coronavirus and she just died a few days later.
STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE FREE CBN NEWS APP
Click Here Get the App with Special Alerts on Breaking News and Top Stories
According to a report by the Associated Press, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) says his state has only 20% of COVID deaths from nursing homes compared to 68% in Pennsylvania, 64% in Massachusetts, and 44% in New Jersey.
The controversy began in March when Cuomo mandated that recovering coronavirus patients be placed in nursing homes, despite the availability of the Navy hospital ship Comfort, 2,500 hospital beds set up inside the Javits Convention Center, and the field hospital set up by Samaritan's Purse.
Many say the policy led to thousands of possibly preventable deaths across the state.
US Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wants Cuomo removed from office.
"I really think Governor Cuomo ought to be impeached for the worst public policy, public health policy decision maybe in a century for sending patients with coronavirus back to nursing homes," Paul said an interview with Fox News.
Despite multiple calls for an independent investigation, the governor is still refusing that move.
"No, I wouldn't do an investigation," Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters. "I think you'd have to be blind to realize it's not political. Just look at where it comes from. Just look at the sources and their political affiliation."
The New York state legislature wants answers and recently invited families whose loved ones died in eldercare facilities to testify.
During those hearings, lawmakers also grilled state health commissioner Howard Zucker for failing to report the actual number of Covid deaths in nursing homes.
"Your administration's definition truly misrepresents the full scale of this crisis in a nursing home, questioned Democratic state Sen. James Skoufis. "Let's try and get the full picture here and now. How many of New York's nursing home residents died in hospitals?"
"I'm not prepared to give you a specific number," Zucker responded.
Meanwhile, Dean believes she was disinvited from the public hearing because of her affiliation with Fox News. Regardless, she says all the families affected deserve answers.
"I would like a 9-11 style commission hearing because it's not only New York. It's several other states that did the same thing, putting coronavirus patients into nursing homes," said Dean. "So, that's my hope. I don't know if that'll ever happen, but my argument is Governor Cuomo what do you have to hide?"