OSWEGO COUNTY – Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang announced this week that 559 additional residents tested positive for COVID-19 during the previous week.

This brings the total cumulative number of positive cases since the county began monitoring for COVID-19 in March 2020 to 14,360.

Currently, there are 634 active positive cases, and four more COVID-19-related deaths were reported in the past week.

“I’m sorry to report that we’ve lost four more neighbors to this disease,” said Huang. “Their deaths are a setback in our battle against COVID-19 and our condolences go out to their loved ones.”

Huang reminds residents that the COVID-19 virus is still active in the community. “We have seen our seven-day new case counts increase recently,” he said. “They are back in the middle 500s, where they were in the middle of October. This poses a high risk to those who are not fully vaccinated or are otherwise vulnerable.”

He also announced that, in the last week, a handful of regional and local hospitals started reporting hospitalizations of county residents to the health department. They include Oswego Hospital; Upstate University, Crouse and St. Joseph’s hospitals in the Syracuse area; and Samaritan Hospital in Watertown.

“We’re happy to have these summaries to be able to share them with residents,” he said. “On Sunday, Nov. 21, there were 26 Oswego County residents hospitalized.”

The age distribution of these 26 patients is: 7.69% ages 18 and younger; 15.38% ages 19-45; 26.92% ages 46-64; and 50% ages 65 and older.

Huang said that it’s worth noting that all age groups are impacted by hospitalization. “With high virus activity, both unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated individuals are at higher risk of contracting the virus,” he said. “We strongly encourage those residents to get vaccinated as soon as they can. The COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available through our clinics and in many local pharmacies and health care providers’ offices as well.”

He added that the data is not complete because not all hospitals that admit Oswego County residents report to the health department. “Also, different hospitals report in various formats, so we are not able to include vaccination status in the reports,” he said. “Still, the aggregated numbers are helpful, and we will update them weekly.

“I also want to thank Upstate Hospital for leading the way in reporting residents’ hospitalizations in this region,” said Huang. “This kind of health care and public health collaboration helps us keep the public informed, promotes education and raises awareness to help with disease prevention and control.”

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available 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 hosts COVID-19 vaccine clinics from 1-5:30 p.m. every Wednesday (except today, Nov. 24) at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

On Dec. 1, health department staff will administer the patient’s choice of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine between 1-5:30 p.m., and the Moderna vaccine between 5-5:30 p.m. only.

The clinic will include first, second or third doses of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccines, the one-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson boosters. Those eligible for a booster must register in advance.

A separate clinic is scheduled for the Moderna booster. It will run from 2-5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego. Advanced registration is required for a booster shot.

The health department’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics are open to anyone 12 and older. The department is also collaborating with ConnextCare and school districts across the County to vaccinate school children aged 5 to 11 years at local school settings.

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine is approved for those aged 5 years and older. Children ages 5-11 can get the pediatric vaccine through their school district, local pharmacies or their health care provider. The Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those ages 18 and older. The Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna vaccines are both two-dose vaccines and the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose vaccine.

The CDC now recommends people ages 50-64 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 ages 18-49 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 with any of the three available vaccines two months after their initial shot.

Walk-ins are welcome; however, online registration is encouraged and appreciated for the clinic’s efficiency. People can pre-register online at https://health.oswegocounty.com or by calling the COVID-19 Hotline at 315-349-3330.

For more information, go to the Oswego County Health Department’s COVID-19 page at health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19.

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