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Image courtesy of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

OSWEGO — Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang announced Monday, Aug. 16, that 171 additional residents have 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 8,502.

There are currently 204 active positive cases and another COVID-19-related death reported by the New York State Department of Health today. “We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this person,” said Huang. “Every death is a sad development in our efforts to fight this disease and a reminder that it is once again rampant in our county.”

Oswego County’s community transmission level continues to be “high” according to the CDC.

“Since the pandemic began, we have put great effort into controlling this disease,” said Huang. “However, as an organism, the COVID-19 virus is changing to escape these human control measures. The most recent Delta variant surge is an example of this capability.”

He added, “Of all of our control tools, the vaccine remains the most effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19. It can prevent severe cases, hospitalization and death. We have shared data from our own county to demonstrate this. In the recent surge of cases, evidence shows that residents who are either unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated are 22 times more likely to contract the virus than those who are fully vaccinated.

“Still, there are numerous gaps in vaccinations” Huang continued. “In our community, 20- to 34-year-olds are the only age group showing a continuously increasing percentage of COVID-19 cases since the third peak began last November. At that time, the age group had a 24.7% positivity rate. In March of this year, it rose to 31.4% and just last month it increased to 39.3%. In these same months, the positivity rate for 35- to 64- year-olds has continuously declined.

“Comparatively, the vaccination rate for the 20- to 34-year-old age group is much lower than the 35- to 64- year-old age group,” he concluded. “I urge people in the 20- to 34-year-old age group to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities. The more people who get vaccinated, the fewer opportunities we give the virus to change and escape from our control efforts.”

COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone aged 12 years and older. They are widely available through clinics offered by the County Health Department, at area pharmacies, and through community health care providers.

This report is current as of 1 p.m. Aug. 16.

Total - of positive cases currently active: 204

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: 246,478

Total - of negative results: 235,183

Total - of positive cases: 8,502

Total - of positive cases released: 8,207

Total deaths reported by the New York State Department of Health: 94

Total - of people in mandatory isolation/quarantine: 502

On Friday, August 13, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) endorsed the use of an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems after an initial two-dose vaccine series. This third dose of vaccine must be administered at least four weeks after a second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. At this time, no additional dose is recommended for those who received the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Oswego County Health Department will only administer the third dose of vaccine to people who have a signed note from their health care provider indicating they need it.

Now is a good time for parents to get their students aged 12 years and above vaccinated against COVID-19. The Oswego County Health Department will hold additional vaccination clinics this week.

The first clinic is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 18. From 1 to 5:30 p.m., health staff will administer the Pfizer vaccine to those aged 12 years and over at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego. This is a two-dose vaccine, so those who attend should plan to return on Wednesday, Sept. 8 for their second shot.

The Pfizer vaccine will also be offered to anyone aged 12 years and older on Thursday, Aug. 19, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Sandy Creek Fire Department, 6026 S. Main St., Sandy Creek. The vaccine is part of a two-dose series. Those getting their first shot here will be offered an appointment for their second dose on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, click on the “Fact Sheet” link for each one at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.

Walk-ins are welcomed, though appointments and online pre-registration are still appreciated. Call 315-349-3330 to make an appointment or go to https://health.oswegocounty.com/ and click on the link “For Local Information About the COVID-19 Vaccination.” All Oswego County COVID-19 vaccination clinic registration links are posted here.

The Oswego County Office for the Aging can also 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 the virus is still active, and people should assume they can be exposed to COVID-19 anywhere they go. “With restrictions lifted, I urge residents to protect themselves in public spaces, especially if they are not vaccinated,” he said. “Now is not the time to let our guard down and abandon safety practices. If you have not been vaccinated yet, now is the time to get your shot.”

Locations of public exposure to the virus are posted on the health department’s COVID-19 page at health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19.

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.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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