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COVID-19 Report for Oct. 4, 2021

OSWEGO COUNTY – Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang announced today, Oct. 4, that 451 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 11,092.

Currently, there are 555 active positive cases. Four additional COVID-19-related deaths have been reported by the New York State Department of Health. “Our deepest condolences go out to the loved ones of those we have lost,” said Huang.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Oswego County’s community transmission level remains “high,” and little more than half of vaccine-eligible residents are fully vaccinated. “We must do everything we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our community,” said Huang. “I strongly urge people to protect themselves in public spaces, follow health guidance and get vaccinated.”

The large numbers of new COVID-19-positive cases have posed some challenges to the County Health Department.

“Ensuring our children remain safe and their schools remain open are important concerns,” said Oswego County Supervising Public Health Nurse Jodi Martin. “Therefore, with the increase in COVID-19 cases, we have prioritized investigating those that are school-related in our effort to keep the virus out of schools.”

This, combined with the limited number of state-employed case investigators and a delay in laboratory reporting, has caused a backlog in the investigation of other cases. “We have requested additional help from the state Department of Health over the last week, which has helped us reduce the number of uninvestigated cases,” Martin said.

“We would like people to know that we are working very hard to investigate cases in a timely manner and appreciate their patience,” she added. “If someone has tested positive for COVID-19 and has not received a call from a case investigator, we ask that they call our COVID-19 Hotline at 315-349-3330. Phone lines are open from 8:30 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.”

Huang also addressed the County’s COVID-19 testing capacities. “As many counties across the state, especially rural counties, Oswego County has a limited testing capacity,” he said. “Over the past week, we have been exploring different ways to make testing available more quickly to help meet the needs of our community. We have reached out to local partners and testing manufacturers. This process is ongoing, and, as soon as we have a break-through, we will make an announcement.”

This report is current as of 1 p.m. Oct. 4.

  • Total # of positive cases currently active: 555
  • Total # of people currently in mandatory isolation/quarantine: 1,844

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: 283,333
  • Total # of negative results: 268,733
  • Total # of positive cases: 11,092
  • Total # of positive cases released: 10,441
  • Total deaths reported by the New York State Department of Health: 107

“We continue to see that most COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are in those who are unvaccinated,” said Oswego County Medical Director Dr. Christina Liepke. “COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. People can get vaccinated through the County Health Department, at area pharmacies and community health care clinics, and by local physicians and health care providers.”

The Oswego County Health Department hosts COVID vaccine clinics every Wednesday in October at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

“Our COVID-19 vaccine clinics are open to anyone who is eligible for the vaccine, regardless of where they are in the series,” said Dr. Liepke. “At any of our clinics, patients can come in for their first, second or third dose.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Health Department staff will administer the patient’s choice of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, and the Moderna vaccine.

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna vaccines are both two-dose vaccines and the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose vaccine. The Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine is approved for those aged 12 years and over. The Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those aged 18 years and over.

Anyone who needs a first, second, or third dose of Pfizer may walk in during these hours. The Moderna vaccine will be available Wednesday from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Although walk-ins are welcome, online pre-registration is encouraged and appreciated for the clinic’s efficiency.

Those who would like a Pfizer booster must pre-register.  People can pre-register online at https://health.oswegocounty.com/information/2019_novel_coronavirus/covid-19_vaccine.php or by calling 315-349-3330

“Many people are anxious to receive a booster now that both the CDC and FDA have recommended Pfizer boosters,” said Dr. Liepke. “It is important to note that if you are like myself, having received the Moderna vaccine many months ago, or if you received the Janssen vaccine, you are not eligible for the Pfizer booster. This should not be alarming as studies show that the COVID-19 vaccines are still very effective, even several months later, at helping to lower your risk of hospitalization and death if you get COVID-19.”

The CDC recommends that certain groups of people get the Pfizer booster six months from their last dose of Pfizer. They include:

  • Those who are 65 years old and over.
  • People who are 18 years old and over and live in a long-term care setting such as a nursing home.
  • Those who are 50 to 64 years old with certain underlying medical conditions (HIV, active cancer, COPD, asthma, chronic kidney disease, sickle cell, obesity, heart disease, chronic liver disease, immune deficiency, diabetes, or history of solid organ transplant or STEM cell transplant etc.).

The CDC further states that the following groups MAY get the booster if they choose to:

  • Those who are 18 to 49 years old with certain underlying medical conditions mentioned above.
  • Those who are 18 to 64 years old and work in a setting that puts them at high risk of COVID-19 exposure. This includes grocery store workers, food and agricultural workers, educational workers including daycare workers, manufacturing workers, correctional facility workers, public transit workers, US Postal Service workers, and first responders including police, fire and health care workers.

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.

The Health Department continues to partner with Pulaski Urgent Care to bring free COVID-19 rapid testing to county residents. To register for a free COVID-19 test, please call the Oswego County Hotline at 315-349-3330 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

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 people should assume they can be exposed to COVID-19 anywhere they go. “With this latest surge, I urge residents to protect themselves in public spaces, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not,” he said. “Now is not the time to abandon safety practices. If you have not been vaccinated yet, it is time to get your shot, to protect yourself, your family and friends, and your community.”

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.

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.