UNITED STATES—Under a now-scrapped state policy, New York hospitals sent 6,326 recovering COVID-19 patients to nursing homes, according to New York officials who spoke about the matter on July 6.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration is facing criticism over the issue. The directive, released on March 25, initially intended to free up beds at the hospitals for new coronavirus patients. According to the Associate Press, several relatives and patient advocates blamed the policy for spreading the virus to the nation’s vulnerable communities.

A nursing home report released by the New York State Department of Health on July 6, takes into account the recovering patients at nursing homes. The report states that the virus was already present in 80 percent of the nursing homes before accepting the recovering patients. 

According to the CDC, if a patient tests negative for the virus for 72 consecutive hours,  they are no longer infectious. Patients arriving at nursing homes were hospitalized for nine days, making it unlikely for the virus to be transmitted by those individuals.

The New York Times reported that long term care facilities, including nursing homes, share 21 percent of COVID-19 deaths in New York, which is the lowest number when compared to states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island where 88 percent and 77 percent of COVID-19 deaths are in nursing homes.