Seventy-three residents at the city-run Coler nursing complex on Roosevelt Island have contracted the coronavirus, officials said Monday.
Coler residents are alarmed because Mayor Bill de Blasio directed COVID patients to be transported and treated in separate wings of the same complex.
“How many people has to get sick and die before someone actually steps in and does something? Who will be held responsible for the mayor’s actions bringing COVID patients into Coler,” one resident said in an exchange with Jennilie Brewster of the patient advocacy group Open Doors, which was forwarded to civic leaders in an e-letter Monday obtained by The Post.
Brewster asked the resident if any friends have tested positive.
“Yes, my friends have tested positive bc they are living with someone who is positive for COVID, which it then becomes a matter of time before they develop symptoms,” the resident said.
The Coler resident said the facility has not informed them about how many positive COVID patients or deaths there are, adding, “There has been no communicating between residents and administration unless we reach out then they give us a BS excuse that they are doing the best they can.”
Another hospital source called the transfer of COVID patients to Coler “a total disregard to those frail and already compromised nursing home residents.”
NYC Health+Hospitals, the city agency that oversees Coler, said there’s been 73 positive COVID-19 cases out of 540 residents at the nursing facility – less than comparable locations citywide.
The agency said there were a total of “166 COVID-19 and non-COVID patients” at the separate make-shift hospital up in unused wings of the Coler complex, called Roosevelt Island Medical Center.
“Health+Hospitals defended care for both populations in the complex and emphasized they are kept separate.”
“In the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, the City has expanded its hospital capacity to meet the urgent needs created by COVID-19, but these efforts would never compromise the care and condition of patients and residents,” Health+Hospitals spokeswoman Stephanie Guzman said.
“Roosevelt Island Medical Center and NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler have their own patient and respective staff populations. Only staff share the limited common space, which includes elevators, a hallway, and the main lobby. Throughout the facilities we maintain strict infection control … ”
The spokesperson said the long-term care residents who live at Coler do not interact with patients at the new COVID hospital. The health care workers are also separate.
Additional medical staffers were assigned to Roosevelt Island Medical Center to treat recovering COVID patients and have nothing to do with the long-term nursing patients, she said.
The Post recently reported that Coler staff received donated masks and others supplies after staffers complained of inadequate personal protective equipment there.
Meanwhile more than 3,300 residents have died in New York’s nursing homes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come under fire for a March 25 state directive that required nursing homes to admit or readmit COVID or suspected COVID patients, which some critics claim exacerbated the spread of viral infection in facilities filled with vulnerable, older residents.