Warehouse turned into haven for cats with flu virus in LIC

More than 400 cats are being quarantined at

A Long Island City warehouse has been transformed into a safe haven for more than 500 cats who may have been exposed to an unusual flu virus.They quarantine center, constructed in less than a week by an ASPCA emergency field team in late December, is the city’s best chance to halt the H7N2 bird flu virus that has affected all three of its animal sheltersWe believe that cats recover better in group housing. The interaction is positive.”It’s unclear how long the facility will remain open but it could be anywhere from 45 to 90 days, officials said.A team of 40 volunteers and staffers cycle in and out of the facility on a daily basis to help clean, feed and provide medical attention for the cats. Each person must follow strict protocols and don head to toe protective gear to keep the virus contained.The protective gear alone costs about $25 per person, and workers have to change into a new suit, gloves, bootees and face shields every time they enter the quarantine area.Meanwhile Animal Care Centers, a nonprofit which contracts with the city to handle stray, homeless and unwanted critters in the five boroughs, plans to have all three of its facilities sanitized.One veterinarian working with the cats at an ACC facility tested positive for the virus in December but quickly recovered. Officials said there have been no other human cases.One veterinarian working with the cats at an ACC facility tested positive for the virus in December but quickly recovered. Officials said there have been no other human cases.Experts from the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine are continuing to monitor lab results. So far 32 of the cats have been medically cleared.“Once the cats are healthy and no longer contagious, we’ll do everything we can to help them find homes,” said ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker.

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