March 21, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: A New York City nursing home director tells Fox News that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order last year requiring such facilities to take in COVID-positive patients released from hospitals was "ridiculous" and that he warned state officials "we can’t be doing this."
Michael Kraus, the administrator of the Silver Lakes Specialized Care Center in Staten Island, said he immediately raised the alarm after first hearing about the March 25, 2020, order in a conference call with other directors, hospital leaders and state officials.
"I said that’s ridiculous. We can’t be doing this. It’s just not right to the residents," Kraus told Fox News in an exclusive interview with correspondent Aishah Hasnie that aired Thursday on "America Reports."
"And you vocalized that on these phone conversations?" Hasnie asked.
"I did vocalize it," Kraus said. "And then once it was shot down, I never spoke again."
Kraus -- for the first time -- revealed what happened behind the scenes following the controversial directive in New York, where more than 15,000 people are confirmed to have died in state nursing homes and long-term care facilities from COVID-19.
However, as recently as January, New York reported a fraction of that number -- around 8,500 deaths. Critics blame Cuomo's order, which he rescinded in May 2020.
The issue made national headlines last month when top Cuomo adviser Melissa DeRosa told Democratic state lawmakers that the governor's administration had withheld information about the death toll because, as she put it, "we froze" in the face of a potential federal investigation from the Trump administration. Cuomo himself subsequently acknowledged that both state lawmakers and the Department of Justice had made requests in August 2020 for a full accounting of nursing home deaths.