Coronavirus News: Families desperate for answers after dozens die in Queens nursing home

FLUSHING, Queens (WABC) -- Dozens of residents inside a nursing home in Queens have died from COVID-19 and some fear there could be even more victims.

Families are desperate for answers about their loved ones and say the nursing home is stonewalling and refusing to tell them anything.

Berna Lee's mother is in Sapphire Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing of Central Queens and she says she hasn't been able to see her 77-year-old, 85-pound mother in person for weeks.

Since then, her mother has developed pneumonia and a high fever, yet Sapphire won't test her for COVID-19.

"I feel tremendous frustration and anger and panic fear, I'm really afraid for my mom," Lee said.

Like thousands of people who have loved ones in nursing homes closed off because of the coronavirus crisis, Lee has no idea how her mom is doing.

"I know she's fighting and i just need her to know I'm fighting for her," Lee said.

There is little to no information about nursing homes during the crisis.

On Monday, the state said hundreds had died in nursing homes in the five boroughs. There are 663 nursing homes in Queens and hundreds in Nassau and Suffolk counties as well.

A quarter of all the people who died from COVID-19 in the state died in nursing homes.

State Assemblyman Ron Kim spoke out Thursday to demand action:

"The state did not provide the necessary support to keep our most vulnerable members safe. I'm still traumatized by how my constituents and their families continue to be kept in the dark as their loved ones are dying by themselves in these nursing homes."

Eyewitness News reached out to the nursing home for comment but they did not return calls or emails.

The state promised a detailed report on nursing home deaths, but has not released one yet.

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