The Department of Justice has opened a preliminary investigation into policies to manage patients with the CCP Virus in nursing homes in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan that could have caused the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents, the New York Post reported.

The Justice Department press release states that nursing homes were required to admit patients infected with the CCP Virus into an already vulnerable population.

The investigation points specifically to the March 25 order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, requiring nursing homes to accept recovering CCP virus patients discharged from hospitals while at the same time prohibiting such facilities from testing for the virus.

The order stated, “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19 [The CCP Virus]. [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

Cuomo was criticized for the order he finally rescinded on May 10, according to NBC New York.

However, the New York governor issued a report July 6 defending the measure and shifting responsibility for it.

According to the report, it was the nursing home staff and family members who visited the elderly who spread the virus in the homes. 

Data from the New York State Department of Health confirms that 6,453 people died from CCP Virus in nursing homes. However, critics have pointed out that this figure does not include the thousands of elderly people infected who were transferred from nursing homes and died in hospitals. An Associated Press journalist estimated that the figure could be as high as 11,000.

The Justice Department investigation is evaluating the possibility of initiating an extensive investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), which protects the rights of residents of “state-run nursing homes, among others.”

The Civil Rights Division of the DOJ is seeking to determine whether state orders requiring admission of CCP-infected patients to nursing homes are “responsible for the deaths of nursing home residents,” the press release said.

New York is among the states with the highest number of deaths, 32,592, followed by New Jersey. Although Texas has a 50% larger population than New York, it only recorded 11,000 deaths from the CCP Virus, the released noted.

Cuomo and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a joint statement accusing President Trump’s DOJ of using the deaths in nursing homes for political purposes.

The two Democratic leaders said their policies for managing CCP Virus patients in nursing homes were modeled after CDC guidelines. However, the White House has denied that this is the case.

Both Democrats and Republicans called for an independent investigation into the deaths in New York’s nursing homes, but the governor refused, arguing that state and congressional legislative hearings were sufficient.

Michael Caputo, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services celebrated the Justice Department’s decision, saying Cuomo was personally responsible for the tragedy that resulted in the deaths of thousands of grandfathers and grandmothers.

“He’s shifted blame, he even tried to clear himself with a crony inquiry nobody in the nation took seriously. Thankfully, a federal investigation has begun, far from the dark and cynical manipulations of the second floor of the New York State Capitol” Caputo said.