New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the state Department of Health was unprepared to respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago.

The Comptroller’s Office has released an audit that includes a timeline of Health Department underreporting of nursing home deaths by at least 4,100, at times, more than fifty-percent.

Getty Images /thawornnurak
Getty Images /thawornnurak
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The report blames former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration taking control of information provided to the public for undercounting and the lack of sharing of information with auditors.

DiNapoli called the audit findings “extremely troubling”, saying “the public was mislead by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts.”

He says an important step would be for the Department of Health to provide the families who lost loved ones with answers regarding the actual number of nursing home residents who died during the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kristine Bellino/WIBX News
Kristine Bellino/WIBX News
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Attorney General Letitia James issued a statement saying the Comptroller’s audit affirmed some of the findings of the A-G’s January 2021 report on nursing home deaths and COVID response.

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She says anyone who has concerns about nursing home conditions is urged to contact the Attorney General’s Office.  They can file confidential complaints online or by call 833-249-8499.

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