New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration ordered homes for people with developmental disabilities to accept coronavirus patients — and never rescinded the order.
The April 10 directive, which mirrored the Cuomo administration's controversial order to nursing homes, also told homes for people with developmental disabilities that they could not require hospitalized residents to be tested for coronavirus prior to admission or readmission.
Five hundred fifty-two residents at homes for people with developmental disabilities have died of coronavirus, the New York Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) told Fox News on Monday.
More than 6,900 people out of the more than 34,552 who live in such resident homes have been infected with the virus, according to OPWDD.
"These group homes were required to have a process in place to expedite the return of asymptomatic residents from the hospital, who were deemed appropriate for return to their OPWDD certified residence," an OPWDD spokeswoman told Fox News in a statement. "In other words, OPWDD providers could accept individuals only if they could safely accommodate them in the group home."
The statement also noted that people "who could not be safely accommodated either remained at the hospital or were served in one of the over 100 temporary sites established for COVID-19 recovery efforts in partnership with OPWDD provider agencies."
Unlike the nursing home directive, the April 10 directive is still in effect an OPWDD spokeswoman told Fox News.
New York state Republicans have begun looking into the directive and sent a letter to the commissioner of New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities asking for updated numbers on coronavirus deaths and infections in late February.
"I am deeply concerned that the April 10th order from OPWDD needlessly put some of our most vulnerable citizens in harm’s way. Close on the heels of the deadly nursing home order from the Department of Health (DOH), this order appears both dangerous and tone deaf. Transparency has been a major failing of this administration at all levels," GOP State Sen. Mike Martucci, a signatory of the letter and ranking member of the Senate Disabilities Committee, said in a statement.
The Republicans said they were unable to get up-to-date information about infections in group homes from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration as of last month.
An October study of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in group homes found they had a coronavirus case rate roughly four times higher than the overall state population. Their fatality rate was also nearly double that of the overall state population, according to the study.
New York included people with developmental disabilities living in congregate settings in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout, and all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been eligible for the vaccine since Feb. 15.