Governor Cuomo is effectively reversing a much-criticized policy directive that was sending seniors treated for COVID-19 back into nursing homes.

A March 25th order from the state Department of Health required all nursing homes to readmit seniors who left to be treated for coronavirus at a hospital.

Critics said that policy led to more than 5,000 deaths in nursing homes, which are regulated by the state.

Seniors are the population most vulnerable to coronavirus, accounting for the highest number of deaths.

Under the new policy, a nursing home resident must test negative for the disease before being readmitted to a nursing home facility.

Cuomo announced new protocols on testing inside the homes as well.

“If a nursing home cannot provide care for a person and provide the appropriate level of care for any reason they must transfer the person out of the facility. If they can’t find another facility, they can call the state department of health,” Cuomo said. “All nursing home staff must now be tested twice a week. That’s not just a temperature check. That is a diagnostic test.”

The Cuomo Administration maintains the policy change is not a reversal, since nursing homes were previously required to send residents with COVID- 19 it could not care for to another facility.

Meanwhile, there were 521 new hospitalizations for COVID-19 statewide in the last 24 hours. The last time it was that low was March 20. There were 207 deaths in the last day. 

The governor also addressed the Pause Order. Over the weekend a new Executive Order from the Governor appeared to extend the stay-at-home order to June 7.

Cuomo said today that starting on May 15th certain regions of the state can begin to reopen, starting with construction and manufacturing jobs.

That’s assuming upstate regions have met certain benchmarks of new coronavirus cases.

New York City is still a long way away from meeting that criteria and will more than likely not be ready to reopen next week.