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Suffolk DA Timothy Sini says he tested positive for coronavirus

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini addresses

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini addresses the media in June 2019. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said Tuesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus, but has no symptoms and has been working from home for the last week. 

"I’m generally fine," Sini said in a telephone interview from his home. "I was not symptomatic at work or in court and I’m doing well. ... I’m continuing to work from home like everyone else. I’m not going to let this slow me down."

Sini, 39, has self-quarantined at home since last Wednesday afternoon under advice from the county’s Department of Health, said Justin Meyers, Sini's chief of staff. Sini got his test results Monday night.

“He’s been in self-quarantine for one week,” Meyers said. “He’s notified the health department. He put himself in self-quarantine at the point that the Department of Health said he should do so. He’s following the protocols like anyone else."

Sini was tested for the virus when he visited his doctor after he learned he had been in contact with "more than one person" infected with the virus, he said. He went into self-quarantine last Wednesday, the same day he was tested.

"I went to my medical doctor and I got a test and I’m not going to go into too much detail there," Sini said. 

"I can't track how I contracted it," Sini said. "It's very hard to know. As DA, obviously, I come into contact with a lot of people so I could have contracted it a lot of different ways." 

Although Sini said his diagnosis hasn't impacted his work, at home he has had to separate himself from his wife and three children, ages 9, 6 and 3.

"My wife is furious with me," he said. "That's the hardest part."

He added: "I am staying away from them. That’s certainly just like a lot of other people who are going through this, that’s one of the more challenging issues. We’re all doing well."

Sini said he's holding regular meetings through Zoom Video Communications with the district attorney's bureau chiefs, who are also working from home, as are the office's 400 or so staffers.

"He continues to pummel through, working 18-hour days and making sure the criminal justice system does not miss a beat," Meyers said. 

On March 16, Sini ordered 84% of his staff to work from home to comply with state and federal guidelines on preventing the spread of the potentially deadly pandemic, Sini himself worked as a front-line prosecutor, performing arraignments in courtroom D-11 in Central Islip. 

"I wanted to lead by example," Sini said. "I did arraignments that Monday. It went smoothly…I did lose a bail argument. It was a non-qualifiying offense and I asked for electronic monitoring and supervised release but the judge [released him on his own recognizance]. So you know, it happens to the best of us."

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