Coronavirus concerns land 83 in voluntary isolation on Long Island

LONG ISLAND, New York -- Officials on Long Island's Nassau County announced Wednesday they are monitoring 83 people who may have had potential exposure to the coronavirus, and test results for one resident are pending.

The 83 residents have been asked to undergo voluntary isolation, removing themselves from people, including their family members, for 14 days from the last time they were in mainland China or may have been exposed to the virus. They are required to report their temperature and any symptoms every day to Nassau County health officials.

"Should someone need medical care, we'll evaluate it and we have protocols in place to safely get them medical care," Nassau County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein said during a press conference Wednesday.

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Dr. Eisenstein said up to this point, the majority of people who have been asked to undergo voluntary isolation have been cooperative. He said if someone is not cooperative, officials have a plan in place, but they have not had to employ it.

He said since the outbreak of the coronavirus, 175 people in Nassau County have undergone voluntary isolation.

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The Centers for Disease Control contacts the Nassau County Health Department as soon as someone flies in from having spent some time in mainland China. The health department has 24 hours to contact the resident and interview him or her to determine if he or she needs to undergo a mandatory quarantine or voluntary isolation.

"This process has worked very well," Dr. Eisenstein said.

Dr. Eisenstein said one resident was in mandatory quarantine at the beginning of the outbreak, but the criteria for quarantine has changed since then. The person did not have the coronavirus.

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Dr. Eisenstein said five residents have been tested for the coronavirus. The results were negative. He said results for the one test still pending should be received Wednesday or Thursday.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran reassured residents county health officials are prepared for any potential outbreak of the coronavirus.

"The health department prepares for this sort of thing all year round," Curran said. "We're monitoring this situation in Nassau very, very closely and have been right from the beginning to respond to any cases should they emerge in our county."

Curran said Nassau County's Office of Emergency Management has reached out to the state to coordinate supplies and resources if needed.

Health officials also reminded residents right now they are at greater risk for the flu than coronavirus and should practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing.

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