Erie County Holding Center inmate under observation for coronavirus

A Brooklyn man who recently traveled to China was placed under medical observation for novel coronavirus at the Erie County Medical Center on Thursday after he was detained on an outstanding warrant during a stop at the Peace Bridge. 

Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said Kevin Qiu, 42, of Brooklyn, was being held at the holding for an outstanding warrant from Pennsylvania and is under medical observation for the virus known as Covid-19.

Howard said Qiu, who recently traveled to China, was assessed as a “medium risk” individual for the virus. Although the individual is not symptomatic, precautions are in place until his judicial release or decision on extradition, Howard said.

The sheriff's offic indicated that Qiu attempted to enter the U.S through the Peace Bridge port of entry on Wednesday after returning from a trip to China. When Qiu notified U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers of his visit to China, they performed an initial health screening. The sheriff's office noted that CBP continues to facilitate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s enhanced health screening of travelers entering the United States with a nexus to Wuhan, or with recent travel to China, or who exhibit symptoms consistent with the outbreak of novel coronavirus. This enhanced health screening is for symptoms specifically related to the novel coronavirus and is conducted by CDC personnel upon a traveler’s arrival to the U.S.)

Qiu was ultimately detained Wednesday at the Peace Bridge by U.S. CBP Officers for the fugitive warrant out of Chester County, Pennsylvania. On Thursday, Qiu was admitted to the holding center pending his court appearance and possible extradition.

Upon his admission into the jail, Qui was examined by Division of Correctional Health’s medical staff and flagged due to his recent travel to China.

In a statement, Sheriff Howard said his office notified the New York State Department of Health and the Erie County Department of Health. He said all parties are working to establish protocols, precautions, and protections for jail staff and other inmates.

"Jail management has taken appropriate measures to ensure the health and welfare of other inmates and staff. In the meantime, medical professionals will be monitoring Qiu’s temperature and other vitals on a set schedule. The sheriff’s office has notified the New York State Commission of Correction," Howard said. 

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