Coronavirus scare as doctor arrested, charged with coughing on nurses

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Nurses dealing with the coronavirus at a Connecticut hospital told police they were deliberately coughed on by a doctor who was arrested on a breach of peace charge, according to reports.

Dr. Cory Edgar, an orthopedic surgeon at UConn Health in Farmington, was arrested Thursday on the misdemeanor charge, Fox 61 Hartford reported.

Police charged Edgar, 48, after responding to an outpatient surgery clinic for a report of a doctor “deliberately coughing on and hugging nurses, causing them a substantial amount of alarm,” the Hartford Courant reported.

Othoepdic surgeon Dr. Cory Edgar

Othoepdic surgeon Dr. Cory Edgar (UConn Health)

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“The witnesses and medical workers believed he was purposely disregarding space and safety concerns involving the coronavirus pandemic,” University of Connecticut spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz told the paper.

The misdemeanor charge is punishable by a fine or six months in jail. He was due to appear in court in June.

The hospital believes Edgar wasn’t infected with the coronavirus at the time of the incident, according to the Courant.

The paper obtained a statement from a spokeswoman for the hospital who said Edgar confirmed that he was in excellent health and “does not to his knowledge have COVID-19.”

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“We can also state that any UConn Health employee with an indication of illness is asked to stay home, and during this pandemic all employees are screened for symptoms prior to entering the premises,” the spokeswoman Jennifer Walker said.

Police in other parts of the country have announced arrests in similar coughing cases since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. None of those cases invovled the arrest of a doctor.

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Nearly 1,300 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Connecticut as of Friday afternoon but officials believe the number is much higher.

Connecticut officials said the virus has been blamed for 27 deaths.

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