New York state’s Department of Health just abandoned yet another appalling policy — again, only after getting caught: It will no longer allow staff who test positive for the coronavirus to keep working in nursing homes.
As with other shockers, the DOH initially stood by its OK for that insane risk at Hornell Gardens, an upstate home. Even as Steuben County officials estimate that the virus took at least 15 lives there — versus seven in the rest of the county.
Appallingly, the department excluded county officials from the April 10 conference call with Hornell’s operators, during which it approved the policy. Days later, as the locals caught on to the surge in deaths at the home, they convinced the state to transfer non-COVID residents to an out-of-county facility.
Again, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has now set a policy of not allowing infected staff to keep working at homes. But would he ever have changed the rules if Jack Wheeler, the county’s top administrator, hadn’t kept records that exposed this madness?