Image courtesy of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

OSWEGO COUNTY – Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang announced Monday, Nov. 22, that 559 additional residents tested positive for COVID-19 this past week. This brings the total cumulative number of positive cases since the county began monitoring for COVID-19 in March 2020 to 14,360.

Currently, there are 634 active positive cases and four more COVID-19-related deaths. “I’m sorry to report that we’ve lost four more neighbors to this disease,” said Huang. “Their deaths are a setback in our battle against COVID-19 and our condolences go out to their loved ones.”

Huang reminds residents that the COVID-19 virus is still active in the community. “We have seen our seven-day new case counts increase recently,” he said. “They are back in the middle 500s, where they were in the middle of October. This poses a high risk to those who are not fully vaccinated or are otherwise vulnerable.”

He also announced that, in the last week, a handful of regional and local hospitals started reporting hospitalizations of County residents to the health department. They include Oswego Hospital; Upstate University, Crouse and St. Joseph’s hospitals in the Syracuse area; and Samaritan Hospital in Watertown.

“We’re happy to have these summaries to be able to share them with residents,” he said. “On Sunday, Nov. 21, there were 26 Oswego County residents hospitalized.”

The age distribution of these 26 patients is: 7.69% aged 0 to 18 years; 15.38% aged 19 to 45 years; 26.92% aged 46 to 64 years; and 50% aged 65 years and above.

Huang said that it’s worth noting that all age groups are impacted by hospitalization. “With high virus activity, both unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated individuals are at higher risk of contracting the virus,” he said. “We strongly encourage those residents to get vaccinated as soon as they can. The COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available through our clinics and in many local pharmacies and health care provider’s offices as well.”

He added that the data is not complete because not all hospitals that admit Oswego County residents report to the health department. “Also, different hospitals report in various formats, so we are not able to include vaccination status in the reports,” he said. “Still, the aggregated numbers are helpful, and we will update them weekly.

“I also want to thank Upstate Hospital for leading the way in reporting residents’ hospitalizations in this region,” said Huang. “This kind of health care and public health collaboration helps us keep the public informed, promotes education and raises awareness to help with disease prevention and control.”

This report is current as of 1 p.m. Nov. 22.

Total - of positive cases currently active: 634

Total - of people currently in mandatory isolation/quarantine: 1,659

The following numbers are cumulative since the county began monitoring COVID-19 in March 2020. They are updated weekly to show new cases or changes. Those who have been released are not removed from the running total of positive cases.

Total - of tests conducted: 325,948

Total - of negative results: 306,793

Total - of positive cases: 14,360

Total - of positive cases released: 13,603

Total deaths reported by the New York State Department of Health: 130

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available through the County Health Department, at area pharmacies and community health care clinics, and through local physicians and health care providers.

The Oswego County Health Department hosts COVID-19 vaccine clinics from 1 to 5:30 p.m. every Wednesday at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego. Please note that there will not be a clinic this Wednesday, Nov. 24 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Next Wednesday, Dec. 1, health department staff will administer the patient’s choice of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine between 1 and 5:30 p.m., and the Moderna vaccine between 5 and 5:30 p.m. only.

The clinic will include first, second or third doses of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccines, the one-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson boosters. Those eligible for a booster must register in advance.

A separate clinic is scheduled for the Moderna booster. It will run from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29 at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego. Advanced registration is required for a booster shot.

The Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics are open to anyone 12 years of age and older. The department is also collaborating with ConnextCare and school districts across the County to vaccinate school children aged 5 to 11 years at local school settings.

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine is approved for those aged 5 years and over. Children aged 5 to 11 years can get the pediatric vaccine through their school district, local pharmacies or their health care provider. The Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those aged 18 years and over. The Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna vaccines are both two-dose vaccines and the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose vaccine.

The CDC now recommends people aged 50 to 64 who received the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccines, SHOULD get a booster shot six months after their last dose, regardless of underlying medical conditions. The agency also stated that those aged 18 to 49 who received the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccines MAY get the booster shot if they choose to.

The CDC continues to recommend that people who had the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine get a booster shot with any of the three available vaccines two months after their initial shot.

Walk-ins are welcome; however, online registration is encouraged and appreciated for the clinic’s efficiency. People can pre-register online at https://health.oswegocounty.com/information/2019_novel_coronavirus/covid-19_vaccine.php or by calling the COVID-19 Hotline at 315-349-3330.

The Oswego County Office for the Aging can help people aged 60 and over who need help navigating the internet to make appointments. Call 315-349-3484.

Free transportation is provided to residents to go to COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites through a partnership between Oswego County and Oswego County Opportunities, Inc. Rides are available between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 315-598-1514 to schedule a ride in advance.

Oswego County Legislature Chairman James Weatherup reminds residents that Oswego County continues to have a high community transmission level according to the CDC.

“If you have not been vaccinated yet, now is time to get your shot -- not only to protect yourself, but your family and friends, and your community as well,” he said.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, chills, repeated shaking with chills, gastrointestinal illness and new loss of taste or smell.

Residents are urged to continue taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including:

Get vaccinated if you are 12 years of age or older.

Stay home if you are sick and keep your children home if they are sick.

Wash your hands often.

Keep six feet distance between you and those you do not live with, especially if you are unvaccinated.

Wear a face mask inside public spaces you visit or patronize, where you work, or in crowded outdoor settings, regardless of your vaccination status.

All residents should follow COVID-19 prevention measures local businesses and workplaces may have in place. Check the New York State website at forward.ny.gov for additional guidance.

For more information, go to the Oswego County Health Department’s COVID-19 page at health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19 or call its COVID-19 Hotline at 315-349-3330. Phone lines are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Please note that the hotline will be closed this Thursday and Friday, Nov. 25 and 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

For information about emotional supports, visit the Oswego County Department of Social Services Division of Mental Hygiene at www.oswegocounty.com/mentalhygiene.

Under New York State Public Health Law, the Oswego County Health Department is the local public health authority regarding the COVID-19 pandemic response within the County of Oswego. The Oswego County Health Department works closely with New York State Department of Health regarding COVID-19 monitoring, response, and reporting.

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