Coronavirus News: Mayor de Blasio unveils 4-part plan to protect NYC nursing home residents

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a four-part plan to help protect residents of New York City's nursing homes on Wednesday.

"To me this comes down to, the seniors in our lives, what they have given us, what they mean to us, and what we owe to them, what we owe to them in terms of making sure they are healthy, making sure they are safe, always being there for them," de Blasio said.

The announcement comes after some 3,000 residents of nursing homes in the city have died of COVID-19, including those confirmed whose diagnoses were by lab tests and those for whom COVID-19 was the presumed cause based on symptoms.

De Blasio noted that the state is in charge of regulating nursing homes but said the city would start a "two-week blitz" to provide up to 3,000 tests a day to residents and employees at the facilities. He said the city has already sent 240 fill-in staff members to replace nursing home employees who tested positive for the virus and must stay home for two weeks. The city will fulfill additional staffing requests by the end of next week, he said.

Additionally, 10 "outbreak response teams" will be available to assist nursing homes and adult care facilities that are experiencing coronavirus flareups, de Blasio said. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on May 10 ordered twice-weekly testing for all staffers at nursing homes and other adult care facilities. The order doesn't apply to residents.

1) Expanding Testing for Residents
- City to offer on-site PCR tests to all 169 nursing homes in NYC starting next week.
- Provide capacity to run 3,000 tests a day through city-contracted lab.

2) Provide More Staff
- Mandatory staff testing has begun. Staff who test positive are required to stay out of work for 14 days, which will create shortages.
- City's surge staffing has already added 240 personnel across the city, and will fulfill all staffing requests by the end of the week.

3) Outbreak Response Teams in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
- The city will implement 10 outbreak response teams, each with an epidemiologist and experts in infection control, mental health and social work.
- Support state oversight with DOHMH expertise in infection control, PPE management and resident and staff retesting.
- These teams will be deployed "the second there's a sign of a problem," in any nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

4) Shift to Home-based Care
- Mayor de Blasio pushed for the need to maximize home-based care to limit the number of people living in nursing homes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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