Janice Dean’s sister-in-law slams NY Gov. Cuomo for saying ‘ridiculous things’
Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean’s sister-in-law Donna Johnson lost her parents to COVID-19 after she says they were exposed in New York assisted living facilities.
Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean’s sister-in-law Donna Johnson, who lost her parents to COVID-19 after they were exposed in New York assisted living facilities, stressed on Tuesday that people do not go to nursing homes to die.
“Our governor gets on TV and says such ridiculous things,” Johnson told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. “I think the latest thing that has me so saddened is when he talks about nursing home patients, he acts like you go to a nursing home and you die, big deal.”
“You don’t go to a nursing home and die. It is people’s homes,” she stressed, noting that some of the assisted living facilities are rehabilitation centers and people of all ages are there.
Last month, the Washington Post reported New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “Look, whether a person died in a hospital or died in a nursing home, it’s — the people died.”
“People died. ‘I was in a hospital, I got transferred to a nursing home, and my father died.’ ‘My father was in a nursing home, got transferred to a hospital, my father died.’ People died,” he reportedly continued.
“But who cares? 33 [percent]. 28 [percent]. Died in a hospital. Died in a nursing home,” Cuomo added, according to the Post. “They died.”
Johnson told host Brian Kilmeade that about one year ago, her father’s New York nursing home rehabilitation facility was in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. She noted that her mother was in a separate assisted living facility nearby and the plan was for her father “to get a little healthier and go join my mom in the assisted living.”
Johnson said one afternoon her brother got a call that her father wasn’t feeling well.
“I don’t believe the call led us to believe he was in grave danger and it was only just a few hours later that he received the next call that my dad had passed away,” she said.
“Having COVID didn’t even cross our minds and we learned that my dad had COVID when the funeral director received the death certificate.”
Johnson also noted that shortly thereafter, her mother started not to feel well and about a week later was transported to the hospital where she tested positive for COVID-19 and “progressively got worse.” Johnson said her mother died in the hospital.
“The last words my mom said to me was, ‘Donna I’m scared,’” Johnson said.
“I’d like to ask Governor Cuomo how would he feel if he had to live every day with the last words from his mother, ‘Andrew, I’m scared.’”
A Cuomo spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
On Monday, Cuomo declined to say whether he or any members of his office had been subpoenaed in connection with ongoing investigations into how the administration handled nursing home care during the pandemic.
When asked during a conference call about any potential subpoenas, Cuomo said his office has been complying with an inquiry since August and will continue to do so. He did not, however, speak directly to the subpoena question.
Cuomo’s office has come under mounting scrutiny over how it handled nursing home patient care and how it reported patient deaths, including intentionally underreporting fatalities for fear that revealing the information could have been used against the administration, as suggested by an aide.
A report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James at the end of last month revealed total nursing home deaths in the state were higher than previously expected – undercounted by as much as 55%.
The Department of Health revealed shortly after James’ report was released that an additional 3,829 residents died after being transferred to hospitals, which is about 40% more deaths than had previously been counted. At least 12,743 long-term care residents died of the virus as of Jan. 19.
New data released this month upped those figures to at least 14,100.
Republicans in the state legislature on Monday moved forward with an effort to strip Cuomo of his emergency authority during the pandemic. State Democrats advanced an effort to formally censure Cuomo, which would serve as a public rebuke of his actions.
Johnson noted on Tuesday that she has several questions for the governor.
“I would like to know why he didn’t use the tools that President Trump gave him,” Johnson said. “He asked for the ship. He had the ship. It laid there empty. He had the Javits Center, it laid there empty.”
She also pointed out that where she is on Long Island, makeshift hospitals were located in parking lots.
“Why didn’t you use these facilities? I would just like to know why? What made you sign this mandate to send COVID infected patients to facilities that were not equipped?” she went on to ask.
Johnson also noted that she would pass by the rehabilitation center her father was living in on Long Island every day during the lockdown to drop off the newspaper and she would see employees “wearing garbage bags,” noting they were not equipped to handle the pandemic.
“What kind of PPE [personal protective equipment] is that?” Johnson asked.
A Cuomo spokesperson also did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for answers to Johnson’s questions.
Johnson said on Tuesday that she is “proud” of her sister-in-law Janice Dean for being a voice for families who have lost family members living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“I’m so certain my parents are so proud of her,” Johnson told Kilmeade. “My parents weren’t the type of people that would want their face to be on TV and they wouldn’t want the attention, but on the other hand to that, my dad always taught us to always stick up for yourself and to stick up for people who can’t stick up for themselves.”
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“I know how proud my parents are looking down smiling on her,” she added. “We are forever grateful.”
Fox News’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.
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