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Threat called into Queens nursing home amid reports of over 29 COVID-19 deaths

Sapphire Center nursing home in Queens
Posted at 5:56 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 09:47:03-04

FLUSHING, Queens — Amid reports of dozens of coronavirus deaths at one Queens nursing home, an unknown man called the facility making threats late Thursday night, police said.

The NYPD confirmed the news after an employee at the Sapphire Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing told PIX11's Anthony DiLorenzo of the threat.

According to police, around 11 p.m. a man called the front desk of the Flushing facility and told the receptionist, "I'm upset with the way the patients are being treated there," before threatening to "shoot the place up and kill everybody."

Police said the man hung up and there was no further interaction. There was a police presence at nursing home early Friday when PIX arrived on the scene.

The shocking threat comes after Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim spoke out Thursday, demanding answers after hearing between 29 to 60 people might have died at the nursing home from COVID-19 complications.

PIX11 has reached out to Sapphire Center but has not heard back.

Nursing homes in New York, and across the tri-state region, have become a painful place amid the COVID-19 outbreak. A tragic end to life where at some facilities there is no "dying with dignity."

Severe understaffing and a lack of testing has led to over 2,500 nursing home patients dying out of 96,000 residents, according to the state.