Mayor Barlow announces SUNY Oswego partnership for COVID-19 testing of essential city employees

OSWEGO — Mayor Billy Barlow announced Wednesday a partnership between SUNY Oswego and the city of Oswego relating to the implementation of regular COVID-19 testing for city employees identified as essential workers.

Mayor Barlow has required employees in the Oswego Fire Department, Oswego Police Department, Oswego Department of Public Works, Water Department and Wastewater Department to undergo regular, mandatory COVID-19 testing to protect essential city workers and ensure city services continue to be administered without interruption.

As individuals throughout Oswego County test positive for COVID-19, or become subject to mandatory isolation/quarantine orders, employers may encounter the challenge of unavailable staff. Mayor Barlow recognized the potential problem as positive COVID-19 cases continue to increase and, in an effort to protect essential workers and guarantee city services continue to be properly administered, contacted SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley to inquire about city employees mirroring SUNY Oswego’s comprehensive established testing program. Prior to the 2020 fall semester, SUNY Oswego developed an extensive pooled saliva testing regimen, designed to regularly test all SUNY students and employees throughout the semester.

“SUNY Oswego’s testing program, in partnership with SUNY Upstate, is the most aggressive and impressive testing system I’ve encountered since the start of the pandemic. I appreciate President Deborah Stanley’s leadership and generosity in assisting the city of Oswego develop a similar testing program through SUNY Upstate to protect our workforce,” said Mayor Billy Barlow. “Regular testing of essential city employees allows us to stop the spread of COVID-19 through our workforce to ensure we continue delivering the city services our residents expect and, more importantly, protects the health and safety of our workforce,” Barlow said.

SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley said, “Ensuring the health and safety of all members of our community, especially the city’s essential workers, is an excellent example of forward-thinking, collaborative leadership. We are pleased to connect the city with SUNY Upstate and help train the city’s staff on how best to utilize and administer this testing.”

The testing program for essential city workers will be administered by Assistant Fire Chief Jon Chawgo, using a pooled saliva testing and tracking system. Upon receiving samples from the employees, the tests will be transported by SUNY Oswego for processing at SUNY Upstate. Test results will be provided to the city approximately 24 to 48 hours after testing, allowing for a quick and accurate response to COVID-19 positive individuals.

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