Queens congressional delegation urges Trump to raise funding for virus-plagued nursing homes

Apr 20, 2020
In The News

The Queens congressional delegation has urged the federal government to intervene to protect nursing home residents and staff from the coronavirus, pushing the Trump Administration to take action after the state said more than 200 Queens nursing home residents have died due to COVID-19 as of April 15. 

That tally, published Friday, is just the tip of the iceberg and fails to account for an untold number of other deaths related to the coronavirus, according to various news reports and staff at long-term care facilities.

A bipartisan delegation of New York senators and representatives sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid asking for more nursing home funding for the state. The entire seven-person Queens congressional delegation signed on to the letter include U.S. Reps. Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Carolyn Maloney, Gregory Meeks, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tom Suozzi and Hakeem Jeffries. 

“Throughout New York City and state, we’re hearing heartbreaking stories of the virus spreading rapidly in nursing facilities and taking lives of those living there,” Velázquez said in a statement. “These are our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. We need to steer resources to where they can be most effective and boosting resources for our nursing homes and their dedicated staff, now, will save lives.”

Nearly 2,700 people have died in New York nursing homes due to complications of the coronavirus as of April 15, according to state Department of Health data. More nursing home residents died in Queens than any other county in the state, according to the report. 

Meng sent a separate letter to President Donald Trump on Sunday asking for his help combating the high number of nursing home deaths in Queens. She urged the federal government to manufacture more COVID-19 tests and increase funding for nursing homes. 

“The deaths at our nursing homes have been tragic and heartbreaking,” Meng said in a statement. “The elderly are among our most vulnerable populations. More must be done to protect them and we desperately need help from President Trump and his administration.”

“I implore him to provide the resources that our long term care facilities need, and to do so immediately,” she continued. “I await his reply to my letter.”