Dan Levy & WNYT Staff
Updated: February 03, 2021 11:30 PM
Created: February 03, 2021 04:32 PM
ALBANY - Wednesday's State Supreme Court decision ordering the State Health Department to release all of the information collected on Covid-related nursing home deaths, according to State Senator Jim Tedisco (R - Glenville), is a "big win" for New Yorkers, and something he sees as an end to many months of "obfuscation and cover up."
"Why did the governor not want to give these answers?" Tedisco asks rhetorically, "I know it's an embarrassment for him."
Tedisco, who filed the amicus lawsuit on behalf of the Empire Center for Public Policy, says with the new data, the legislature can now investigate the Cuomo Administration's handling of the Covid pandemic to find out what caused so many nursing home deaths, and also find out if there might have been multiple factors involved.
"We have to see if there was understaffing involved," Tedisco asserts, "We have to ask the question, around the time these individuals got the Coronavirus and later passed away, were you allowing asymptomatic individuals who were working there but still testing positive for Covid into your nursing home."
Tedsico also wants to know if there might have been nursing home staffers who were working at multiple facilities who could have been traveling from place to place spreading the virus.
Tedisco also believes a thorough investigation might bring closure for family members whose elderly loved ones died from Covid, insisting that the lawsuit was never meant to be political, and pointing out that some democrats were also calling for the probe.
"Let's face it," Tedisco says, "It may put a damper at all the adulation and support he's gotten around the country for so-called good work that he does. I'm not saying he's got to give that emmy back or they're going to take it from him, but I do say he has to take ownership and can't hide this information."
The State Health Department issued a statement Wednesday afternoon that read: With the preliminary audit complete, we were already in the process of responding to their FOIL request, and updating DOH's website with publicly available information."
The court ruling also requires taxpayers to pick up the cost of the lawsuit.
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