Coronavirus: Nearly 100 residents die at one New York care home

2 May 2020, 09:26

The Isabella Geriatric Center in Manhatten
The Isabella Geriatric Center in Manhatten. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

A New York nursing home has recorded 98 deaths linked to coronavirus at its facility.

Isabella Geriatric Center in Washington Heights, Manhattan, has lost 46 residents who were known to have Covid-19, and a further 52 who were not tested but are thought to have died from the illness.

The death toll, if confirmed, accounts for 14 per cent of the residents at the 705-bed care home.

It would be the largest coronavirus cluster in the state of New York.

However, an official state tally of nursing home deaths listed only 13 at the home as of Friday.

Black tarp has been placed across the gates guarding the back of the home and a refrigerated truck was brought in to store the overwhelming number of bodies.

In New York, funeral homes have been overwhelmed and have said it will take days to pick up the deceased.

Almost 24,000 people have died from the disease in New York. The state has seen at least 3,065 nursing home deaths, by far the most in the US.

New York is the worst affected US state
New York is the worst affected US state. Picture: PA

"It's absolutely horrifying," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"It's inestimable loss, and it's just impossible to imagine so many people lost in one place."

"The one thing we now know about the nursing homes is the status quo cannot continue to say the least," he continued. 

"Something very different has to happen."

Isabella Geriatric Center said in a statement that it "truthfully and accurately reported" its death toll to state officials. 

"Isabella, like all other nursing homes in New York City, initially had limited access to widespread and consistent in-house testing to quickly diagnose our residents and staff," Audrey Waters, a spokeswoman for the nursing home, wrote in an email. 

"This hampered our ability to identify those who were infected and asymptomatic, despite our efforts to swiftly separate anyone who presented symptoms."

Waters said the home finally is "getting more access to testing" now.

Worldwide there are now 3.4 million cases of coronavirus and more than 238,000 deaths