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MINNEAPOLS (WCCO) — Frontline health care workers are taking serious precautions not only to keep themselves safe, but to keep their families safe.

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Lisa Neuburger, an ICU nurse at Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, has been living in a camper in a family member’s driveway. WCCO spoke with her about the tough decision to self-isolate, and what the police department is doing to accommodate her.

Neuburger has been living in the camper for 25 days, separated from her 11-year-old son, and unable to come inside the home she was living in with her former in-laws. The camper is the epitome of the sacrifices health care workers are making every day.

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“It’s frustrating. I just want to come home and cuddle with my son and help him with his school work. That’s all online, it’s been very difficult,” Neuburger said. “It was easier just to live at my parents’ house, but I … would’ve never lived with myself if my mom got [COVID-19].”

Neuburger says the breaking point that pushed her to move out of the house and into this camper was when she was directly exposed to a COVID-19 patient at work. She was scared to give it to her family.

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(credit: CBS)

Living in a camper is technically against city ordinance in St. Paul Park. After police received a complaint about it, Neuburger’s in-laws — the owners of the home — were sent a written notice that they had two weeks to fix it.

WCCO spoke with St. Paul Park Police Chief Jessica Danberg, who says she’s going to make an exception and allow Neuburger to continue living in the camper.

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“It’s been a hard month, all the changes at work, you’re just constantly scared that you’re going to bring something home, so this gave me peace of mind until all this happened,” Neuburger said.

Chief Danberg says exceptions like this will be made on a case-by-case basis, but that any frontline health care worker choosing to isolate from family this way will be allowed to do so in the city as long as they have received special permission from police.

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Erin Hassanzadeh