Nearly 1,000 boxes of Personal Protective Equipment have been left to rot outside a Queens nursing home for veterans — where the valuable times were pummeled by rain and gnawed by rats and snakes, a report said Tuesday.
Staffers said supplies such as medical gowns, masks and gloves weren’t safely secured at the New York State Veterans’ Home at St. Albans, and some were destroyed, The City reported.
“When we needed the PPE we couldn’t even get it. Now it’s being wasted,” said one staffer, referring to PPE shortages at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the outlet reported.
Some staffers questioned why now lawmakers haven’t intervened to ensure that there isn’t an overflow of supplies at the nursing home — while others lamented that the excess PPE wasn’t sent to other regions where it’s more scarce, such as India, the outlet reported.
State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Queens) said he’s received complaints before from staff at the veterans home — including about PPE — indicating that mismanagement has been “rampant.”
“Since this whole thing started there have been problems with supply, deliver and maintenance and even acquisition of proper PPE,” Comrie said.
Comrie said that he flagged issues at the nursing home to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’ office.
“Apparently there is a problem over [at the facility] and it’s only indicative of the fact that the management over there is horrible, which I’ve expressed to the governor more than once, and they promised they would do something with the nursing homes in general but they haven’t done anything,” he said.
The reports of mishandled supplies come as Cuomo’s administration is being investigated by the FBI over its handling of nursing homes during the crisis.
The governor’s office faced fierce criticism over a since-rescinded state Health Department directive ordering nursing homes to admit infected patients being discharged from hospitals.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday called the new reports at a state nursing home “disturbing.”
“This begs the question, again, what is the state of New York doing with nursing homes?Why is their oversight so lax?” de Blasio said at a press briefing.
“Something’s still wrong here and it goes beyond the horrifying reality of last year,” he said. “There’s something even bigger here about why the state does such a poor job of addressing the needs of nursing homes.”
Jill Montag, a health department spokesperson, said in a statement that St. Albans “continues to receive, manage and use a supply of PPE items in an ongoing effort to combat the pandemic, stay prepared for any future developments and abide by state and federal regulations governing PPE supply requirements,” The City reported.
Neville Goldson, administrator of the veterans home, didn’t respond to request for comment.
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