OSWEGO — The Oswego County Health Department has tested all employees living in Oswego County at a local apple plant that authorities say is at the center of a recent outbreak of COVID-19, and contact tracing is ongoing to help contain the spread.
Each of the 87 local workers at Champlain Valley Specialty, a facility that processes and repackages fresh fruit, have now been tested according to health department officials. The expanded testing yielded 37 positive results for individuals who live in Oswego County.
“These newly found positives and their close contacts were quickly notified and isolated or quarantined if it was warranted,” said county Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “Under the state Department of Health’s direction, those who should be isolated and quarantined were served with isolation and quarantine orders swiftly.”
Saturday’s numbers released by county health officials showed no new cases overnight from Friday, putting the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Oswego County since the beginning of the pandemic at 194. Officials say 160 individuals who tested positive have since recovered. Four Oswego County residents have died of COVID-19. In total, 15,133 COVID-19 tests have been administered to Oswego County residents.
As of 3 p.m. Saturday, COVID-19 has been identified in the cities of Fulton and Oswego and the towns of Boylston, Constantia, Granby, Hannibal, Hastings, Mexico, Minetto, New Haven, Orwell, Oswego, Palermo, Parish, Redfield, Richland, Sandy Creek, Schroeppel, Scriba, Volney, West Monroe and Williamstown according to county officials.
County officials also announced a joint effort with Upstate University hospital to bring drive-thru testing to Fulton this week. The mobile testing unit, a re-purposed mammography screening RV, will be deployed in part due to the “increased COVID-19 activity in the area recently.”
“Additional testing helps us identify positive cases so we can better work to contain the virus,” Huang said. “We’re very thankful to Upstate University for bringing their mobile testing unit to Oswego County to help with testing these last several weeks.”
The mobile COVID-19 testing unit will be at the Fulton Education Center, 167 S. 4th St., Fulton, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Wednesday, July 1. Appointments are required and can be made by calling Upstate University’s Health Care Line at 315-464-2582 and pressing option “0” when prompted, officials said. Testing is limited. Patients are asked to have their insurance information available when they call. Those without insurance will not be turned away. There is no cost to the patient for the test.
Oswego County Legislature Chairman James Weatherup said even though the county continues to successfully move through the state’s re-opening stages, residents must “take every necessary precaution.” He also reminded businesses and organizations that they must follow New York state guidance and submit a re-opening plan to the state before they can resume serving customers.
“The data shows that COVID-19 is still in our community,” said Weatherup. “We must continue to take personal responsibility to help prevent the spread of the disease.”
Elsewhere in the state, health officials are investigating whether someone returning to the New York City area from Florida spread the coronavirus at a high school graduation in suburban Westchester County.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the investigation on Saturday after New York, New Jersey and Connecticut enacted 14-day traveler quarantines to try to check the spread of the virus.
A person “who had recently traveled to Florida and attended the ceremony subsequently began showing symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “Since then, four more individuals who attended the ceremony and had contact with the first positive case have also tested positive.”
It’s suspected the infections occurred at a “drive in” graduation ceremony at Horace Greeley High School or at a related event a week ago in Chappaqua, New York, officials said. Anyone who attended the graduation is expected to self-quarantine until July 5, they said.
The Oneida Indian Nation on Friday said any of its nearly 5,000 employees who travel to certain states where COVID-19 cases are rising will have to go into quarantine for 14 days when they come home.
Leaders of the central New York nation, which operates three casinos, said the travel advisory aligns with the joint advisory issued Wednesday by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which asks visitors from states with high infection rates to isolate.
Oneida employees were instructed to avoid travel to: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Texas.
Oneida Nation Enterprises operates Turning Stone casino in Oneida County and the Point Place and Yellow Brick Road casinos in Madison County. All re-opened June 10 to customers within a 120-mile radius.