ONEONTA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — SUNY Oneonta confirmed 68 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total number of on-campus infections up to 245 students. The news came after 481 students were screened on campus for COVID-19 this past Sunday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has deployed a “SWAT team” to help contain the cluster developing at the college.
70 contact tracers are at work to locate people possibly exposed to the virus along with additional help for pool testing.
“We are a severe case and I hope that we can serve as a warning to other schools and students at other schools,” said Associate Director of Communications Kim Macleod. “The unfortunate thing is it has risen so exponentially, so fast, that it has really stretched our resources,” Macleod said.
As part of the response, three rapid-result testing sites will open in the town of Oneonta on Wednesday, free of charge. Staff and students are taking part in pool testing.
No hospitalizations have been linked to the rise in cases. Meanwhile, about seven to nine percent of the campus is infected with the virus. Infected students are quarantined in separate dorms from the general population.
“This is all hands on deck and everyone is pitching in and volunteering to make sure that the students are safe,” Macleod said.
In-person classes were suspended and campus activity was limited following the initial outbreak. SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris has instructed the college to shift to remote learning while quarantining measures are implemented and contact tracing takes place.
The school will make a decision on what course of action it will take for the rest of the school semester by September 13th.
“The testing sites will be operated in partnership with Bassett Healthcare and will be open to all members of the community. Test results will be available within 15 minutes, allowing contact tracing efforts to quickly track and control any new exposures. All tests will be free,” Macleod said.
Locations of the rapid testing sites are as follows:
- Oneonta Armory, 4 Academy St.
- Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center, 24 Market St.; and
- St. James Church, 305 Main St.
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