CDC COVID-19 (copy)

The Oswego County Health Department announced five additional cases of COVID-19 on Monday, some of which officials said were the result of tests on staff from Pontiac Care and Rehab Center in Oswego. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is pictured above, as rendered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

OSWEGO — Five additional positive tests for COVID-19 were announced by local health officials Monday, some of which included staff members at Pontiac Care and Rehab Center in Oswego.

The five additional cases announced by the Oswego County Health Department on Monday afternoon bring the total number of positive cases in the county to more than 300. There are 19 known active cases in the county, according to county data, with 303 individuals testing positive since testing started in March.

Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said a portion of the five positive cases discovered in recent days were from staff at the Pontiac Care and Rehab Center, but it's unclear how many positive tests were from Pontiac staff. The county Health Department said more information would be released as it becomes available.

Arlyn C. Mallo, an administrator at Pontiac, said the facility has taken all necessary precautionary measures and is working closely with state and county health officials in what appears to be an ongoing investigation. Mallo said none of the staff members have reported exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and the nursing home remains closed to visitors.

As part of state and local policy, health officials investigate each positive case of the coronavirus and identify all known contacts. Known as contact tracing, officials notify known contacts of their potential exposure and the process often can lead to the identification of additional cases.

County officials say in the event a person who tests positive for COVID-19 had public exposure when they were contagious and the health department could not contact those at risk individually, the information would be released publicly through media sources. Investigations are designed to track contacts starting two days prior to symptom onset for symptomatic positive patients, or two days prior to testing for asymptomatic positive patients, up until the time a positive patient is isolated.

Earlier this year an outbreak at the Champlain Valley Specialty of New York, an apple processing plant in Oswego Town, started with a handful of positive tests and grew to more than 30 employees testing positive. The June outbreak ultimately spread further and was reportedly linked to more than 80 cases.

More than 37,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Oswego County, according to county data. Four individuals in Oswego County have died due to complications related to the virus. County officials said Monday there were 57 individuals in mandatory isolation or quarantine.

Oswego County Legislature Chairman James Weatherup has continually urged residents to take every necessary precaution to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, and reminded businesses and organizations to follow state guidance and submit a reopening plan to the state before resuming customer service.

“The data shows that COVID-19 is still in our community,” Weatherup said in a Monday statement. “We must continue to take personal responsibility and help prevent the spread of the disease.”

COVID-19 has been identified in each city and town in Oswego County.

Health officials urge residents to take these precautions:

  • Wear a face mask or covering over your nose and mouth.

  • Keep six feet from other people.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home if you are sick unless you are seeking health care.

  • Call your healthcare provider from home if you are experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath.

  • Call 911 if you are experiencing life-threatening conditions.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, chills, repeated shaking with chills, gastrointestinal illness and new loss of taste or smell.

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