Becky Wydysh addressed the enhanced rate of COVID-19 infections for the rural community of Newfane, pointing to the Newfane Rehab and Rehabilitation Center as the primary source of area illnesses from the novel coronavirus.
“That is a situation that has certainly gained a lot of attention here in the last few weeks.” Wydysh stated during her Friday update. She added, “As you know, we have reported time and again that the Niagara County Health Department does not have authority over nursing homes. That is handled by the State Department of Health.”
According to Wydysh, that does not mean the county’s health department has stood idly by, “Public Health Director Dan Stapleton has – from the beginning – helped at that facility where he could.” Wydysh cited deliveries of both equipment and tests in recent weeks to the nursing home.
Furthermore, she remarked on aid from Albany being mobilized upstate into Newfane. Much of that aid was denied by the healthcare facility. Regarding this, The New York State Department of Health released the following statement: “The administrator assured the Department he was able to adequately care for his residents and will immediately contact us if the situation changes.”
Wydysh said it was surprising the Newfane facility “turned down assistance from the State Department of Health like supplies and staffing.”
Lastly, Wydysh proclaimed, “We don’t have all the facts yet. It remains to be seen if we will receive back an official report from the State Department of Health. Certainly, we will continue to raise this issue with the Governor’s Office and other state officials as we monitor the situation.”