New York enacts new protections for nursing home residents

The coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. has been particularly lethal in nursing homes and elder-care centers.

And on Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new protections for residents of these facilities.

"All the nursing home staff must now be tested twice a week. That's not just a temperature check, that is a diagnostic test... Hospitals going forward cannot discharge a patient to a nursing home unless the patient tests negative for COVID-19... If a nursing home operator does not follow these procedures, they will lose their license.”

Nursing homes around the country have restricted or banned visitors to try to keep their residents safe as the number of recorded coronavirus infections in the United States rises past 1.3 million and the death toll approaches 80,000.

While the elderly are most at risk from COVID-19, New York is also investigating up to 85 cases of children with a rare inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to the coronavirus.

Cuomo said the state is investigating 85 cases and five deaths where children exhibited symptoms similar to a condition called Kawasaki disease.

"This does not present as a normal COVID case. COVID cases tend to be respiratory. This presents as an inflammation of the blood vessels, sometimes inflammation of the heart.”

Cuomo said he would notify other state health departments of New York's findings. He also noted a continued decline in key metrics in what has been the epicenter for the disease in the U.S.

"The number of hospitalizations today down. Great news. Number of intubations. Down. That's great news. The new COVID cases, which is a different problem than the number of people who are in hospitals. This is how many new cases are showing up every day, which has been still very high. It's down to 521, and that is down. 521 takes us right back to where we started this hellish journey, right?"

New York has accounted for nearly one-in-three coronavirus deaths in the U.S. so far.