New York’s state health department is facing pressure to release facility survey data from a controversial nursing home study that found employee spread was the main force that led to a major COVID-19 outbreak among residents.

The study was released in July and used self-reported data from nursing homes. About 37,500 of the state’s 158,000 nursing home workers were infected with COVID-19 between March and June. Of the sick employees, about 7,000 of them worked in facilities during that period.

The report found that the peak number of staff members that reported COVID symptoms came about 23 days prior to the peak number of coronavirus fatalities among residents. 

Report authors concluded that “it is likely thousands of employees who were infected in mid-March transmitted the virus unknowingly — through no fault of their own — while working, which led to resident infections.”

The state also used the report in defense of a controversial admission policy that forced providers to take in COVID-positive residents. That policy was later reversed after mounting criticism.

Since the release of those findings, multiple entities have sought to gain access to the facility data, according to the Times Union. The state formally denied the request last week.

“They’ve made this extremely detailed analysis and are refusing to share the details necessary to fact-check that analysis,” health policy expert Bill Hammond told the news agency. 

“It think it’s fair for people to wonder, ‘Why wouldn’t they be happy to share it?” he observed.