OSWEGO — The Oswego County Health Department announced Saturday, Sept. 12 that an additional 43 members of the SUNY Oswego community have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, bringing the total number to 126. The individuals have been placed in isolation.
“The health department investigates all positive cases of COVID-19,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “We are working closely with the college to identify and notify all close contacts of these patients.”
During the past two weeks, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported at SUNY Oswego has risen to 126, 77 on campus and 49 off campus, as students have been returning for the fall semester.
“SUNY Oswego is taking several immediate and significant actions to mitigate the spread of the virus both on and off campus,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. “We are moving swiftly to institute new measures to protect the members of our campus and the neighboring community of Oswego. We have more than doubled the available quarantine and isolation rooms by re-opening the newly renovated Funnelle Hall and increasing the total quarantine rooms to 208 and isolation rooms to 144 (total of 352 rooms). We are mobilizing a new and expanded surveillance testing operation in a heightened effort to identify COVID-19 on our campus. SUNY Oswego has also paused all athletics activity including team meetings and workouts for at least 14 days. And we continue to remind the entire campus community that our actions are critical to the safety of everyone in our community.”
The Oswego County Health Department urges Oswego city and town residents to take extra preventive measures as many students are living in these communities. Huang said, “Oswego County considers SUNY Oswego a part of our larger community and welcomes these students back to live among us. However, as the disease keeps spreading, both on and off campus students and residents in surrounding communities are encouraged to take extra efforts to contain the disease.”
Huang said it is imperative that all community members wear a face covering and practice diligent handwashing and social distancing, including limiting interactions among family and friends who do not live together. “We all must take personal responsibility for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” he said.
State and county health departments advise people to continue following these precautions:
- Wear a face mask or covering over your nose and mouth.
- Keep six feet from other people.
- Avoid unnecessary gatherings.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick unless you are seeking health care.
- Call your healthcare provider from home if you are experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath.
- Call 911 if you are experiencing life-threatening conditions.
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.
New York State provides online links to report violations of health and safety restrictions and requirements for businesses, gatherings and individuals. To file a complaint about a business, location or incident in your community, go to https://mylicense.custhelp.com/app/ask. To file a complaint against an employer or place of work, go to https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/coronavirus-complaints.shtm.
Residents are asked to continue monitoring reliable sources of information. Go to oswegocounty.com or health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19 for the latest news releases, updates and video presentations. For more information go to cdc.gov.
Additional questions can be directed to the Oswego County Health Department COVID-19 hotline at 315-349-3330 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline will also be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12.
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 sole local public health authority regarding the COVID-19 pandemic response over all persons and entities 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.