Nursing homes in upstate New York were left to secure their own COVID-19 tests in the early days of the pandemic as the coronavirus quickly spread through the facilities, killing numerous elderly residents while Governor Andrew Cuomo made testing available for his family and other connections, according to a new report.
A new report by the New York Post details how the manager of Steuben County, Jack Wheeler, requested in April 2020 that the state Department of Health provide enough tests for every resident and staff member of three facilities in his jurisdiction only to receive enough supplies for just one of the facilities.
While Steve Acquario, the executive director of the New York State Association of Counties, stepped up to help Wheeler in his search for tests — driving eight hours through neighboring counties to collect tests — Cuomo allegedly reserved tests for his family members, including his brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, and his mother, as well as his closest associates.
“I’m furious because testing of the most vulnerable population should be the absolute priority and a simple request,” Wheeler told the New York Post. “But [that] high-level, connected people had that luxury when we couldn’t even get people in the nursing homes tested is just infuriating.”