The July 2020 report focused only on residents who died inside long-term care facilities, excluding those who died in a hospital after becoming sick in a nursing home, the Wall Street Journal reported, mentioning people with information on the matter.
Factoring the data this way showed 6,432 nursing home residents had died, as the original version of the report noted nearly 10,000 elderly supported living residents had died by July 2020, one person with knowledge on the report said.
The changes to the initial report expose the state concealed data set on out-of-facility nursing home deaths as early as the summer of 2020.
More than 15,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care locations were proved or presumed to have died from COVID-19 since March 2020, factoring those who died in assisted living facilities and those who later died in hospitals, state officials have since reported.
The figure amounts to be 50% higher than earlier official death tolls.
Since mid-February, Cuomo and his team have been under attack over suppressing New York’s nursing home death toll, coming after State Attorney General Letitia James released a report that found coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes across the state may have been undercounted by 50%.
The study included a sample of 62 nursing homes or 10% of total facilities in the state. It said a larger number of residents died from COVID-19 than Department of Health data reflected.
Resisting the paper’s arguments, Beth Garvey, a special counsel and senior adviser to Cuomo, said: "The out of facility data was omitted after D.O.H. [Department of Health] could not confirm it had been adequately verified."
She added that the additional data did not modify the conclusion of the report.
"DOH was comfortable with the final report and believes fully in its conclusion that the primary driver that introduced COVID into the nursing homes was ... brought in by staff," Health Department spokesperson Gary Holmes said in a statement also responding to the Times’ report.
The news report comes as Cuomo is already facing calls for his resignation after several women stepped forward claiming sexual harassment by the Democratic governor.
Cuomo is facing allegations that he was sexually inappropriate toward three women. Harassment allegations from two women, former aides to Cuomo, led New York Attorney General Letitia James to launch an investigation.
James said Monday she received a formal referral from Cuomo's office, granting her the ability to choose an investigator to look into the allegations.
"This is not a responsibility we take lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously," James said in a statement, adding that the findings of the investigation would be made public after its completion.