Sunday, February 28, 2021

Amid COVID, nursing home uproar, a mass exodus of Cuomo health officials

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At least nine top Cuomo administration health officials have resigned, retired or been reassigned amid the COVID-19 pandemic that’s devastated New York — while embattled Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has kept his job despite last week’s damning attorney general’s report.

The flood of departures from the Department of Health include Dr. Elizabeth Dufort, former medical director in the division of epidemiology and Dr. Jill Taylor, former head of renowned Wadsworth Center research lab in Albany, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing state records.

None of the others were identified by name, but The Post reported in July that the state’s chief nursing home regulator was about to retire, following the deaths of more than 6,200 nursing home residents.

Mark Kissinger was not part of DOH’s controversial, March 25 directive for nursing homes to admit “medically stable” COVID-19 patients and sources said at the time that Gov.

The attitude is, `Everyone is stupid except for the for people in the governor’s office,’” the source said.

“People in the department feel they’re being set up for failure. They’re told to do this, that or the other thing — and if it doesn’t work out, they’re told they’re failures.”

Dr. Jill Taylor is seen in a 2019 New York Department of Health photo. Taylor is among at least nine top state health officials that have resigned, retired or been reassigned amid the COVID-19 pandemic that devastated New York.Mike Wren/Department of Health

Last week, Cuomo stood by Zucker despite intense controversy over a report by Attorney General Letitia James that revealed state officials downplayed the total number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths by withholding the number of residents who died in hospitals.

James’ report prompted Zucker to release figures showing that 12,743 residents had died in nursing homes and hospitals as of Jan.

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