Cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to college concerns residents


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany County Health Department is working to trace University of Albany students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 after a cluster of cases have been linked to the Pine Hills neighborhood.

Residents in the community have said they’re nervous about potential exposure to the community.

“I’m scared not just for my life, my wife’s life, everyone else’s life around [here] that’s older,” said neighbor Kenneth Ray.

Ray said he’s not only nervous to be infected because of his age, but because his wife had a heart attack this morning.

“What I don’t understand is why aren’t you protecting yourself knowing this is out here? You know rules and regulations, just follow them and we won’t have the problem,” Ray said.

In a tweet Thursday night, the university said the next couple of days will be crucial in determining the course of the rest of the semester. A spread of the virus at the school could not only impact local businesses like Crave Burgers and Frozen Yogurt, but its staff, many of whom are U Albany students.

“It’s still always present in my mind, what our [staff is] doing outside of work. I can’t control them all the time,” said Owner Kaytrn Ziemann.

Ziemann said more than half her staff is U Albany students.

“One person does the wrong thing and it can negatively affect everybody’s livelihood. People just have to realize that it’s not just about them,” said Ziemann.

Ziemann said she has to trust that her employees are doing the right thing. With health risks for neighbors like Ray, trusting neighborhood students is a little harder to do.

The university said there will be repercussions for students who do not respond to contact tracers from the health department. For students who do not quarantine, repercussions could lead to suspension or dismissal from the university.

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