The New York State Department of Health was unprepared to respond to infectious disease outbreaks at nursing homes, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York.

That is according to an audit released by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

DiNapoli says a lack of funding for public health over the last decade forced the Department of Health (NYSDOH) to operate without critical information systems and staff that could have identified and help limit the spread of COVID at nursing homes.

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State auditors also found the the NYSDOH did not provide the public with accurate COVID-19 death counts.

The 58-page report claims the Cuomo administration failed to count 4,100 deaths from April 2020 to February 2021, undercounting the coronavirus death toll rate by as much as fifty percent.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 25: People who've lost loved ones due to Covid-19 while they were in New York nursing homes attend a protest and vigil on March 25, 2021 in New York City. As of this month, New York has recorded the deaths of more than 15,000 nursing home residents with Covid-19. Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration are being investigated by the F.B.I. on whether they gave false data on nursing homes deaths. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Former Governor Andrew Cuomo has faced backlash that his administration intentionally hid accurate death counts.

“The pandemic was devastating and deadly for New Yorkers living in nursing homes. Families have a right to know if their loved one’s COVID-19 death was counted, but many still don’t have answers from the state Department of Health,” DiNapoli said. “Our audit findings are extremely troubling. The public was misled by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts when New Yorkers deserved the truth. The pandemic is not over, and I am hopeful the current administration will make changes to improve accountability and protect lives."

DiNapoli also says an important step would be for DOH to provide the families who lost loved ones with answers as to the actual number of nursing homes residents who died.

He added that New Yorkers need to know the truth.

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