De Blasio outlines plan to fight coronavirus in NYC nursing homes

The city is ramping up coronavirus testing and staffing at Big Apple nursing homes as part of a new plan to fight the deadly bug in hard-hit elderly communities, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

Starting next week, the city will offer free, on-site diagnostic coronavirus tests to all 169 nursing homes across the five boroughs, de Blasio said during his daily press briefing as he outlined the four-part plan.

“Whatever amount of testing, whatever amount of lab capacity they need we will find it for them,” de Blasio said.

The mayor, who noted that the majority of nursing homes in the Big Apple are private enterprises, said that the city expects to provide 3,000 tests a day.

“If this needs to go on for months and months, it will go on for months and months,” said de Blasio.

As part of the plan, de Blasio said the city has already sent 240 personnel to nursing homes as a way to fill the gaps if staffers there contract coronavirus and have to isolate for a required 14 days.

“We are committed to filling those gaps to make sure there’s enough personnel,” de Blasio said, adding, “We will continue to fulfill the requests from every nursing home.”

The city is also implementing 10 “outbreak response teams” — each composed of three members, including a head epidemiologist — to aid nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, said de Blasio.

“The goal here is to keep containing the coronavirus, to keep pushing it back,” the mayor said, adding that “The second there’s any sign of a problem this team can go in can oversee the response, help control infection, make sure the PPE is where it needs to be, make sure retesting is done in the facility.”

The teams will be led by the city’s Health Department.

Part four of the plan focuses on a shift to home-based care for the city’s senior citizens, de Blasio said.

“We’ve learned in this crisis, and even before, that there may be a better way…having folks at home is in many ways not only a better quality of life, but it’s a better place to care for someone done right,” the mayor said.

Hizzoner said the idea “will be a part of our recovery planning.”

“We’re going to look at how to maximize home-based care rather than nursing home care,” he said.

More than 5,000 nursing home residents in New York have died from confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the city’s latest daily coronavirus statistics showed that hospitalizations were slightly up, but that intensive care unit admissions were down, de Blasio said.

Patients in ICUs for suspected coronavirus across the city’s 11 public hospitals went down from 492 on Sunday to 483 on Monday, while the number of people admitted to Big Apple hospitals went up from 57 on Sunday to 63 on Monday, according to the data, which has a two-day reporting lag.

“Not too bad but we want to do better,” de Blasio said of the hospital admissions stat.

The percentage of people tested citywide who are positive for COVID-19 dipped from 9 percent Sunday to 8 percent Monday, the data shows.

“Isn’t it great to see these single digits,” said Hizzoner.

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