Oneonta, NY - “We shouldn’t be where we are today,” said Gary Herzig, City of Oneonta Mayor.
Tonight an Oneonta control group created by Mayor Herzig met virtually to share information on the coronavirus spread.
The group comprised of student and staff representatives from both SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College, city officials, the local business community and residents listened to information, statistics and next steps from the presidents from both colleges and the Otsego County Director of Public Health.
SUNY Oneonta has conducted over 2,000 tests and now has about 13-15% of pool population testing positive.
“We're contacting all of the cases getting their contacts and then putting them in quarantine so we can reduce the spread,” said Heidi Bond, Otsego County Department of Public Health. “Both on and off campus students who are positive and in isolation are being monitored by the local health department by video chat daily… and we’ve also asked to partner with the City Police Department to help us do some random drive-by checks. We’re hoping to get that started soon.”
SUNY Oneonta is having students stay in one place while quarantining or until they receive test results.
“The Public Health has recommended that students stay in place and don't go home,” said Barbara Morris, President of SUNY Oneonta. “What we've stated is if that if they're waiting results of the test we want them to get those results first so that any transfer back to wherever they live they're following the correct protocol in that their county and local health departments will be notified.”
Hartwick College confirmed one positive case on their campus today. This student is isolating in her home outside of the city.
Hartwick President Margaret Drugovich says the Department of Health asked the college to issue a statement to its students urging them to not come in contact with members of the SUNY Oneonta community.
About 2/3rds of SUNY Oneonta's cases coming from off-campus students, it breeds a high level of fear of a community spread.
There are three coronavirus testing sites being set up in the city on Wednesday.
If you are interested in getting one of those rapid tests, there are three free sites:
Oneonta Armory – 4 Academy Street
Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center – 23 Market Street
St. James Church – 305 Main Street.
All locations are in Oneonta. You must make an appointment...the number to call is 1-833-697-8764.
President Morris confirms that as of tonight, no employees have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Control Group will meet weekly to monitor the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
SUNY Oneonta’s campus is currently closed for two weeks.
Hartwick College has closed their campus to the public.
According to the Department of Health there are currently 177 positive coronavirus cases since the start of the fall semester.
There are 44 students in quarantine on campus and 65 students in isolation on campus.
In the meeting, the question of reporting of the number of confirmed coronavirus cases by SUNY Oneonta and the Department of Health and how to keep the public on the 'same page'.
“As numbers come in throughout the day and night, we try to get those communications out by the close of business but obviously if something’s happening we report, but that’s our goal,” says President Morris. “Then we update our Dashboard every morning. It will be dynamic because the Department of Health will make a public announcement or a press release. That will be after our moment where we’ve had to communicate. So, it’s going to be revolving."