Coronavirus News: Suffolk County nursing home remains COVID-19-free

GREENPORT, Suffolk County (WABC) -- Long Island nursing director Kelly Moteiro has accomplished what seems to be impossible. She has helped keep the nursing home she works at completely coronavirus-free.

Not one of the 95 residents at San Simeon by the Sound in Greenport has gotten the coronavirus - thanks, in part, to Moteiro's strict staffing guidelines.

"I have employees, if they have any sort of illness - a stomach ache or this (COVID-19 virus) - I'm keeping them out for two weeks just to be safe," she said. "If someone's husband works with someone who was exposed, I'm keeping them out. You have a sniffle, you're out for two weeks."

The staff is paid for the time they stay home.

Moteiro said every time a staff member reports for a shift they have to answer a questionnaire about whether they have been exposed to anyone with the coronavirus, and they must have their temperature taken.

Staff is also required to wear masks at all times while inside the facility.

"A lot facilities only wear them when they're around residents, but we mandated that everyone wear it all the time," she said.

San Simeon by the Sound is an anomaly in the data.

According to the New York State Department of Health, about 25 percent of all deaths in the state from COVID-19 occur at nursing homes and adult care facilities.

Moteiro said she understands how devastating the coronavirus can be if just one person in the facility is diagnosed, which is why she hasn't seen her family and has been staying at a nearby hotel since March 10.

She doesn't want to risk bringing the coronavirus back into the facility.

"I'm taking care of so many families' loved ones, and I would want the same for my family if they were here," she said.

Moteiro believes her staff has responded so positively to her restrictions because she is living what she's asking them to do: self-isolate.

"I really think my staff has respected I'm not just a director sitting in an office, you know, telling them the rules. I'm living them. So everyone has really stepped up. The teamwork is like I've never seen," she said.

Moteiro admits she believes some of this is luck.

"Every single day I wake up and we're still healthy is a blessing," she said.

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