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EXCLUSIVE: Newfane Rehab turns down assistance from state health department

The facility was offered equipment and staff, but the administrator assured the state it wasn't needed at the moment.

NEWFANE, N.Y. — The Niagara County nursing home where 23 residents have died from COVID-19 related illness and has had 15 workers sidelined after they tested positive for the virus, has surprisingly turned down offers of assistance from the state.

In a statement from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the offer of help came before a second unannounced inspection at Newfane Rehabilitation and Health Care Center on Wednesday night.

An array of options were offered to the facilities administrator including, “transfer of residents if needed… additional staffing resources, and…appropriate supply of personal protective equipment.”

“The administrator assured the Department he was able to adequately care for his residents and will immediately contact us if the situation changes,” the NYSDOH statement says.

The agency did provide Newfane Rehab with pulse oximetry monitors for every resident in the facility to assist in monitoring any early signs of pulmonary issues.

The situation at the nursing home has become so disturbing to area residents, the Niagara County Legislature sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo this week, asking him to send in New York National Guard medical units to assist with containment of the virus.

The Wednesday night surprise inspection was the second time the NYSDOH had been at the Newfane facility in a week. The first visit was last Friday, May 8.

In this more recent inspection NYSDOH says "no deficiencies were identified."

Also, the agency disclosed what Newfane Rehab said was their current inventory of personal protective gear including: 500 N95 masks, 6,000 surgical masks, 750 gowns, 400 face shields, 5,600 gloves and a 14-day supply of hand sanitizer.

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