Oswego County confirms 2 cases of COVID-19

Airport travelers, above, wear breathing masks at the airport in this photo provided by the Associated Press.

OSWEGO — The coronavirus has been confirmed in Oswego County with officials on Sunday afternoon announcing the first two cases.

State officials had incorrectly identified cases in Oswego County on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but Sunday afternoon what seemed inevitable became reality. Oswego County has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more cases are likely to be discovered in the coming days. 

Oswego County Legislature Chairman James Weatherup, R-Central Square, in a Facebook Live on Sunday evening said the state Department of Health (DOH) informed county officials Sunday afternoon that two Oswego County residents have tested positive for the virus.

Weatherup said both individuals were tested on March 18. He said the cases appear to be unrelated, and the pair have been in precautionary quarantine and are recovering in their homes.

One of the individuals was test at SUNY Upstate Medical University and the other at the Oswego Health mobile testing site in Oswego, according to county officials. Both individuals recently returned from international and domestic travel.

Weatherup said both individuals are between 20 and 40 years of age.

"This further demonstrates that all ages are at risk," Weatherup said, wishing the two residents a full recovery.

The Oswego County Health Department is working closely with the state DOH to identify individuals who may have come in contact with the pair.

County officials said as of 4 p.m. on March 22, there have been 104 individuals tested or who are scheduled to be tested in Oswego County.

Sixty-four individuals are being monitored in preacautionary quarantine and another five residents monitored under mandatory isolation or quarantine.

In addition to the two positive test results, the county has received 50 negative tests to date.

Weatherup said county officials have been working for weeks preparing for "the probability coronavirus would spread to Oswego County."

Officials again reiterated the most important precautions individuals can take are frequent hand washing, practicing social distancing and covering coughs and sneezes.

The news comes after two days of uncertainty surrounding Oswego County's status as a confirmed COVID-19 location. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday morning released statistics compiled from statewide testing data showing Oswego County as the site of a positive COVID-19 test. Oswego County Administrator Phil Church and Weatherup denied the accuracy of the governor's report both Saturday and again Sunday, when Cuomo's map  pinpointed Oswego County for a second consecutive day.

In his daily press conference Sunday morning, Cuomo announced 4,812 additional coronavirus cases statewide. The statewide total now stands at 15,168 confirmed cases, according to the governor's office.

Individuals with symptoms should call their primary care physician. Individuals who do not have a primary care physician are asked to call the Oswego County Health Department. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever and difficulty breathing. 

County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said individuals who have symptoms should call their health care provider from home. 

"If you do not have a health care provider, please call Oswego County's COVID-19 hotline at 315-349-3330," Huang said. "Do not go to urgent care or emergency departments unless you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms. 

The county health department is following DOH guidelines to determine who should be quarantined and tested for coronavirus. Testing for COVID-19 is authorized when:

- A person has been quarantined and develops signs and symptoms

- A person has a negative flu test and respiratory panel, and has signs and symptoms. * A person has traveled to a level 2 or 3 country (currently China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Europe or United States hotspots such as New Rochelle, New York City, Westchester County, and Seattle) in the last 14 days and has signs and symptoms.

- A person has had close contact with a confirmed case and has signs and symptoms.

- A physician has ruled out other causes and feels testing is warranted.

For more local covid-19 information, please visit the Oswego County Health Department at health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19 or call the Oswego County Health Department COVID-19 hotline at 315-349-3330.

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