First Oswego case comes a day after Fulton mayor made similar announcement
OSWEGO - The first case of COVID-19 in the city of Oswego was confirmed Saturday afternoon as the number of cases in Oswego County climbed to nine.
Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow announced the first positive case of the novel coronavirus within the city's borders in a press release Saturday. Barlow said the first case within the city "should make people realize that this virus knows no boundaries," and encouraged residents abide by social distancing recommendations.
"People should take social distancing measures even more seriously now that we know the virus is in fact in our community," Barlow said. "I hope the first positive case catches the attention of our residents, we socially distance more than we already are and we realize how important it is to heed all the warnings and follow all rules that have been put in place to date."
Fulton Mayor Deana Michaels announced via a Facebook post on Friday that the first case of COVID-19 in the city of Fulton had been confirmed. Michaels commended Fulton residents for following the guidelines set forth by public health officials and practicing social distancing.
"Continue to follow social distancing requirements and do not participate in social gatherings of any sort," Michaels said. "Those not adhering to social distancing and not protecting themselves and others will be held accountable."
The Fulton mayor said next week the city's police and fire departments would work to implement "stricter social distancing measures."
Barlow said Saturday government should always be transparent, especially during public health and other emergencies, and vowed to continue updating the public on the number of cases in the community.
"I believe that knowledge is power, transparency is important and that is why I'm compelled to confirm we have a case in our city," he said.
Oswego County officials said Saturday that investigations into positive cases of coronavirus "indicate that there is community spread" in Oswego County. Officials said that revelation makes it more important than ever to obey social distancing rules and cancel or avoid all social gatherings.
An executive order issued by Barlow on Friday aimed at enforcing social distancing expanded the power of the Oswego Police Department (OPD) and the city's Code Enforcement Office to charge individuals hosting social gatherings with disorderly conduct. The order also directs authorities to collect the names of attendees and report them to the state Department of Health (DOH) to potentially assist in tracking COVID-19 cases.
"We will not tolerate inconsiderate and reckless behavior while the majority of our community is taking the necessary steps to stop the spread of COVID-19," Barlow said. "I encourage residents who observe large gatherings, at any hour, taking place in neighborhoods or establishments to reach out to the Oswego Police Department and we will immediately respond."
Barlow also directed code enforcement and OPD to monitor businesses who may not be following workforce reduction thresholds or that remain open despite being deemed non-essential by the state.
"The longer we do not properly social distance, the longer we shall have to do it," Barlow said Friday.
Friday's executive order went into effect immediately.
As of Saturday, Barlow said officials had broken up several gatherings in city parks.
Barlow said Saturday the number of positive cases is bound to increase, and encouraged residents to "remain calm, be extra cautious and stay home."