Webster native in COVID lockdown in Italy for 23 days gets permission to leave

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ROME (WHEC) — Three weeks in Rome? Doesn’t sound so bad. But then there’s the story of Webster native Chelsea Pullano.

Just before New Year’s Eve, we told you about Pullano who was locked down in Italy because she kept testing positive and the Italian government wouldn’t let her leave.

But after our story and help from the U.S. Embassy and Congressman Joe Morelle’s office, she’s coming home.

"It’s a huge mess because I’m packing because I just found out I can leave," Pullano said in our Zoom interview as she gave me a tour of her hotel room in which she’s been locked in for 23 days.

The room is in a hotel in Rome designated for foreigners who test positive in Italy. The window is bolted shut and Pullano hasn’t tasted fresh air since she arrived.

Brean: "So what was your place for the past 23 days. Couldn’t leave."

Pullano: "Yep."

Italian rules said no one could get out of quarantine and leave the country if there was a trace of the virus in a test.

But Tuesday, after meetings with the embassy and Morelle’s office, the Italian government agreed Pullano’s quarantine ended after 21 days and gave Pullano a certificate of recovery.

That was her ticket home.

Brean: "When you got that news how did you feel?"

Pullano: "I can’t even, I don’t know if relief really covers it. To some extent, I felt safe, like I felt I could finally get back to where I need to be."

Pullano had been on a tour of the pyramids and tombs of Egypt and cathedrals of Rome, but she was quarantined after she tested positive at the Rome airport.

Pullano said she sat through ten days of quarantine, then tested positive again, then again a week after that, all the while stuck in her room with no symptoms.

Pullano said she doesn’t know how many other Americans are stuck in the same hotel or the 14 other quarantine hotels in the country ut she hopes her newfound freedom helps them.

"’I’m hoping I’m not the only one that gets out of here because of this," she said.

Pullano’s flight leaves at 10 a.m. Wednesday. She is scheduled to arrive at JFK and then to her home in New Jersey.
Her goal is to come up to Webster Wednesday night to finally celebrate Christmas with her family.