McLaughlin Says Answers Needed from State and Facility Following Surge of COVID-19 Cases at Private Riverside Nursing Home

Dozens of Cases at Riverside Follows Outbreak at Private Diamond Hill Nursing Home

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said answers are needed from the state and facility operators as to how another significant outbreak of cases has occurred at a second private nursing home in the county, with McLaughlin also expressing concern for residents at the facility involved.

The Riverside – Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Castleton has seen a dramatic surge in cases, with 30 residents testing positive for COVID-19, and nine employees also testing positive in just the past several days.

The Riverside outbreak follows an outbreak this spring at the Diamond Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Schaghticoke. At Diamond Hill, 58 residents tested positive for COVID-19, along with 27 employees. Unfortunately, there were 16 deaths of residents at Diamond Hill.

Both Riverside and Diamond Hill are private facilities licensed and overseen by the state. There have been other significant outbreaks at private nursing homes overseen by the state, including the Barnwell and Teresian House facilities in Columbia and Albany counties.

Rensselaer County does not have the ability to directly supervise or investigate private nursing facilities, under law, without prior approval from the facility or state.

“I have first a great deal of concern about what is happening at Riverside and want these residents protected and cared for. How we are now seeing a significant surge in cases at a private facility like Riverside after having months to prepare, seeing implementation of expanded testing and other measures is a major issue that needs to be addressed,” said McLaughlin.

“New York State needs to immediately investigate how this outbreak occurred at Riverside and how so many residents and employees become exposed and then confirmed for COVID-19. This is yet another example of a private care facility overseen by the state have dozens of cases and exposures,” added McLaughlin.

“Between Riverside and Diamond Hill alone, two state-supervised, private care facilities, we have seen 124 cases involving residents and employees. When you consider our entire county has 667 total confirmed cases, you see that there is a significant issue occurring at private nursing homes that needs to be addressed,” said McLaughlin.

“There needs to be an investigation, there needs to be a remedy for this problem and a plan of action for how to avoid this happening in the future. For a significant outbreak like this to be occurring several months into the pandemic raises very real and troubling questions,” said McLaughlin.

“We have worked hard in our county to stop the spread and our residents and businesses have been careful to adhere to social distancing and stay at home recommendations. It would be unfair if the outbreaks at state-supervised, private nursing homes are counted against the county,” said McLaughlin.