26 Westchester County residents in coronavirus quarantine after visiting China

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Twenty-six Westchester residents who recently traveled to mainland China are in quarantine for the novel coronavirus out of an abundance of caution. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Health Department require such travelers to be in quarantine for 14 days.

The county, however, says that none of these people have exhibited symptoms of the virus, nor have they tested positive.

Officials say the residents are being monitored by video conference.

"The County is making sure that the individuals have everything they need to maintain their separation, their isolation within their homes, so food, medications, whatever they need...we're ensuring that they have these things,” says Sherlita Amler, of the Westchester Department of Health.

There have been no suspected cases of coronovirus on Long Island, but emergency physicians at Northwell Health are monitoring Westchester County carefully. The 26 people in Westchester are all self-quarantining at home so officials say Long Islanders don't need to panic, just be cautious.

“Obviously they have to be concerned, but I would say there is no immediate risk if the people are self-quarantining at home. It’s unlikely they are going to infect anyone else,” says Dr. Salvatore Pardo, of  Long Island Jewish Valley Stream.

In Japan, the quarantine has come to an end for many passengers on the troubled Diamond Princess cruise ship. Today some who tested negative were released, though authorities announced 79 new cases bringing the total on the ship to 621, by far the largest number outside mainland China. 

Milena Basso and her husband, of Garden City, were on board and were recently evacuated to California to be quarantined. Basso tells News 12 she hopes to come home on March 2 if they can clear quarantine. 

Many people are criticizing Japanese health officials for keeping so many infected people on the ship without proper medical supervision.

Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease expert who was aboard the Japanese cruise, says the experience was overwhelming even for him.

“I know how to protect myself, but inside Diamond Princess I was so scared,” says Iwata. 

Westchester officials are asking the 26 people to wait at least two weeks before being released from self-quarantine.

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