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Coronavirus Ravaging Nursing Homes, But On Long Island There's One With No Suspected Cases

GREENPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The numbers are staggering when it comes to nursing home deaths in New York state: More than 3,400 people have died so far.

One facility on Long Island, however, has no suspected cases -- with the staff crediting its nursing director.

During this socially distant time, the residents of San Simeon by the Sound are holding signs, sending love to their families. It's a sign they're doing well at the nursing home and rehabilitation center in Greenport.

"This is a wonderful place," said resident Grace Dzieman.

Grace, 95, said staff also helps her keep in touch with her daughter through FaceTime.


"I am very healthy," Grace said.

In order to keep it that way, visitation was suspended on March 9. One of the strict measures taken early on to keep the facility free of COVID-19.

"They take my temperature every day," Grace said. "Everything's clean here. They're afraid of that stuff."

"I'm committed to it because I'm taking care of so many people's families," said Kelly Moteiro, director of nursing.

Moteiro's commitment keeps her away from her own family. She hasn't been home since early March, staying at a hotel near the facility to try and protect the 94 residents.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"There's no way I could do it myself," Moteiro said. "My team here is incredible, and everyone here has bought into what we're doing to keep these people safe."

It starts at the front doors, which stay locked. Before masked employees can enter, they are screened, have their temperature taken, and fill out a questionnaire. One symptom means staying home from work for two weeks, paid.

"I don't want to take the chance and then a week later they get more symptoms and have it be brought in here," Moteiro said.

With fewer staff because of that, and fear of bringing in coronavirus, the community based not-for-profit is also being selective with admission.

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Moteiro said, however, if the state mandates it take in COVID-19 patients, the plan is to house them in a part of the building with a separate entrance. Her focus is coming to the facility every day, taking care of the residents, but she said her heart is also with nursing homes around the state who have been hit hard.

"To be honest, it's definitely a lot of luck. The nursing home community is very small and I know so many hard working people in these other nursing homes that are dealing with this tragedy," she said.

The facility said that because they have not had any suspected cases, they have not had to test, but if that changes, testing kits can be ordered.

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