Michael Balboni is a consultant with two local nursing homes.

“We understand the plight of families,” he said. “We want to balance the need for information with the privacy of patients and the privacy of families.”

Even a representative of retirement homes recognizes the benefits of disseminating information, at least between the homes themselves.

“If you want to collect it, the data has to be used,” said Stephen Hanse, president of the New York State Health Facilities Association, which represents 450 homes. “If we can use it to protect residents and nursing home staff, that’s a good thing.”

Some homes have broken away from the pack to publicly reveal their cases. Father Baker Manor, for example, announced over a week ago that 41 residents and 25 staff had tested positive for Covid-19. A few days ago, the McGuire group detailed the number of cases at its facilities around Buffalo.

The state’s health department on Friday released some more data listing the number of deaths from Covid-19 in nursing homes. In Erie County, six died at Father Baker Manor, nine at the Harris Hill Nursing Facility and 11 at the Garden Gate Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility in Cheektowaga. No Niagara County homes were on the list.

The Department of Health, however, has only listed homes with five or more deaths, so the total number of nursing home deaths is higher. When Stanescu called his mother’s nursing home on Wednesday, Erie County had recorded 104 deaths from Covid-19. Forty-two of them, according to the state at the time, involved patients in nursing homes or adult care facilities.


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