NEW YORK – A New York City nursing home
York reported on Friday the deaths of 98 residents who reportedly had the
coronavirus, a staggering death toll that shocked officials

“It is absolutely horrible,” said Mayor Bill
de Blasio. “It is an invaluable loss, and it is simply impossible to imagine
so many lives lost in one place. “

It is difficult to say whether the series of deaths in the Center
Geriatric Isabella, in Manhattan, is the worst outbreak in nursing homes
so far in the United States because even within facilities
of the city have chosen to report deaths in different ways. A
State count of nursing home deaths released Friday listed
only 13 on site.

But officials at the 705-bed center confirmed that as of Wednesday, 46 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 had died, as well as 52 other people “suspected” of having the virus. Some died in the nursing home and others died after being treated in hospitals.

The number of bodies became so overwhelming that the house
ordered a refrigerated truck to store them because funeral homes have
It took days to collect the deceased.

“Isabella, like all nursing homes in the
New York City, they initially had limited access to internal testing
widespread and consistent to quickly diagnose our
residents and staff, “wrote Audrey Waters, a spokeswoman for the home.
of the elderly, in an email. “This hindered our ability
to identify infected and asymptomatic people, despite our
efforts to quickly separate anyone with symptoms. “

Isabella also found a shortage of personnel, which
led to hiring outside agencies and the first challenges to ensure
personal protective equipment for employees. Waters said the house
he’s finally “getting more access to the evidence.”

The number of fatalities in the nursing home was
First reported by local cable news station NY1.

Senior centers have been converted from
first days of the outbreak in a place of high risk for people. These have
been particularly affected in New York, which has had at least 3,065 deaths
in nursing homes, the most in the nation, as of Thursday, according to
an Associated Press count.

The state Department of Health said it has received
“outbreak reports” from 239 nursing homes, including at least
six facilities with a death toll of 40 patients or more.

“The only thing we know now about the homes of
elderly is that the current state cannot continue, “de Blasio said.
“Something different has to happen.”

City officials are “trying to
provide help in any way we can, “added the mayor, saying
that the city had delivered thousands of respirators in
Washington Heights facility.

New York Congressman Adriano Espaillat accused
Isabella of keeping the public and elected officials in the dark
about the outbreak. Espaillat sent a letter on Friday to the Governor, Andrew
Cuomo, and New York Attorney General Letitia James to ask them to investigate
the “information exchange practices” of households
New York elders.

“People deserve to know what is going on,” he said.
Espaillat in an interview with AP.

The Isabella Geriatric Center said that “it could not
speculate “on why a state survey previously listed only
13 deaths of COVID-19 at its facilities. He sent a long statement to AP
on Friday insisting that he “reported truthfully and accurately” his
death toll to state officials.

State authorities said they are building a
updated dataset intended to provide a more detailed window
about deaths in nursing homes. Cuomo referred to a
“vagueness” in some reports of suspected COVID-19 cases, but
warned senior centers not to falsify their death numbers.

“They present these numbers under penalty of perjury,”
Cuomo told reporters. “They can be criminally prosecuted for fraud
in any of these reporting numbers. “

Isabella said she supported the family members
informed about changes in the conditions of their loved ones despite
of the circumstances.

“When we believe that your loved one is close to
death, we contacted a resident’s primary contact and
we asked if you want to say goodbye in person or by phone or by a
application, “Waters said.” Farewell visits in person never
were interrupted and continue to happen. “

Note: Associated Press writer Marina Villeneuve and
Investigative researcher Randy Herschaft contributed to this report.