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COVID-19 Report for Dec. 20, 2021

27 More Oswego County Residents Hospitalized as Holiday COVID-19 Surge Worsens

 – Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang announced today, Dec. 20, that 690 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 16,870.

Currently, there are 1,193 active positive cases and one more COVID-19-related death reported by the NYS Department of Health. “Every death is an unfortunate development in our efforts to fight this virus and something that we never want to see,” said Huang. “Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of this person.”

“COVID-19 activity remains high in Oswego County as we remain in a post-Thanksgiving surge of positive cases,” said Huang. “Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant, is surging in nearby Tompkins County, and people will gather together more often for the upcoming holidays. All of this could dangerously strain local health care systems and first response capacities again.”

According to the hospitalization report received by the Oswego County Health Department, an additional 27 Oswego County residents were hospitalized due to COVID-19 between Sunday, Dec. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 18. Please note that new hospitalization numbers are not part of a running total of hospitalizations. The age distribution of these 27 new patients is: 3.7% aged 0 to 18 years; 25.93% aged 19 to 45 years; 51.85% aged 46 to 64 years; and 18.52% aged 65 years and above.

“At the beginning of the pandemic and the 2020 holiday season, we worked together as a community to successfully flatten the curve and protect our health care system and first response capacity,” Huang said. “We are at this critical time again, with post-Christmas and post-New Year’s Eve surges possible.

“To limit these post-holiday surges and reduce stress on our health care system and first response capacity, please get fully vaccinated if you are eligible for the vaccine and get the booster dose if you have finished the primary vaccine series,” he continued. “In addition, wear masks, stay home when you feel sick, wash your hands frequently and follow quarantine and isolation recommendations. As you plan your holiday events and gatherings, please do your part to ensure that our seniors and other vulnerable individuals are protected.”

This report is current as of 1 p.m. Dec. 20.

  • Total # of positive cases currently active: 1,193
  • Total # of people currently in mandatory isolation/quarantine: 2,870

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: 347,970
  • Total # of negative results: 326,042
  • Total # of positive cases: 16,870
  • Total # of positive cases released: 15,543
  • Total deaths reported by the New York State Department of Health: 139

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available across the county – 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 usually holds COVID-19 vaccine clinics on Wednesdays at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego. Please note that clinics will not be scheduled this Wednesday, Dec. 22 or next Wednesday, Dec. 29 due to the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays.

For more information, call the COVID-19 Hotline at 315-349-3330. Phone lines will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays from now until the end of the year. Please note that the hotline will be closed on Friday, Dec. 24 due to the Christmas holiday.

“The Oswego County COVID-19 Hotline continues to see a high volume of calls,” said Diane Oldenburg, senior public health educator for the Oswego County Health Department. “From Nov. 1 to Dec. 13, we received nearly 3,000 calls. Hotline staff continue to be available to answer questions, schedule vaccination appointments for health department clinics and send out isolation and quarantine paperwork. Please be aware that some calls take longer than others, so at times you may need to leave a message and a staff person will return your call.”

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 Friday. Call 315-598-1514 to schedule a ride in advance.

The Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics are open to anyone 12 years of age and older. Children aged 5 to 11 years can get the pediatric vaccine through their school district, local pharmacies, or their health care provider.

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine is approved for those aged 5 years and over. 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 Centers for Disease Control (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 two months after their initial shot.

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 5 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 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. Please note that hotline hours will be limited through the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. From now until the end of the year, phone lines will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays only. The hotline will be closed on Friday, Dec. 24 for the Christmas holiday.

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

Effective Dec. 13, New York State requires that masks must be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a full-course vaccination requirement. Oswego County government requires that masks be worn inside all county government facilities.

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.