Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R,C,I,Ref-Castleton) recently wrote to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Dr. Howard A. Zucker, Commissioner of the State Department of Health (DOH), to reprimand the flagrant disregard of nursing home protocols meant to keep Van Rensselaer Manor residents safe from the spread of COVID-19. While Rensselaer County diligently follows the guidelines which have successfully kept their residents safe, DOH officials disregarded these guidelines during recent visits.
Rensselaer County has been doing everything they can to keep nursing home residents at Van Rensselaer Manor safe from COVID-19. However, all their hard work is undermined by the carelessness of their own State Department of Health employees, and it must stop, said Ashby, ranking Assembly Minority member of the Assembly Committee on Aging. DOH staff should be all the more eager to show compliance with its own departments policy of regular COVID-19 testing and providing proof to nursing facilities that visiting health officials are safe to enter the facility. It is important that we continue to safeguard seniors in nursing homes.
Rensselaer County officials and Van Rensselaer Manor employees have expressed to Ashby that DOH staff is not following the policies put in place to protect nursing facility residents and staff. Namely, their chief concern is how DOH has forced untested and unannounced staff into the nursing home. The Assemblyman asserts that the DOH staff should prove they are not a threat to the nursing facility so they can conduct their business.