Oswego County: 54 new COVID-19 cases

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang announced today, Sunday, Dec. 13, that 54 additional residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of positive cases to 2,661.

“New cases have increased drastically in recent weeks,” said Huang. “While we have not seen a new record-breaking, single-day peak, the accumulated cases indicate that we are well in the post-Thanksgiving surge. We had 344 new cases during the two weeks after Halloween; during the two weeks after Thanksgiving, we had 833 new cases. Our investigations show the virus is mostly being brought into a home by one member of the household and spreading in the home. To protect yourself and your loved ones, please avoid non-essential gatherings and continue social distancing, face-masking and frequent handwashing.”

Huang also said there have been recent discrepancies in the numbers of COVID-19-related deaths reported by the County and State Health Departments, and the County is working to determine the reasons for the discrepancies.

“The discrepancies in reporting deaths between the County and State dashboards are likely due to the information sources the County and State rely on,” said Huang. “The hospitals, nursing homes, and adult care facilities diligently report deaths daily directly to the State Department of Health. The County Health
Department’s data are based on death certificates and medical examiners’ reports, which pronounce the final official cause of death. We receive those from towns and cities and medical examiners, a process which takes longer.

“Recognizing that the discrepancy between the two sets of data raises questions in the public, we are collaborating further with the State, regional hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities to develop a more efficient process to close the gap in reporting while maintaining accuracy,” he added.

“Unfortunately,” said Huang, “as the virus spreads in our county, we are seeing more hospitalizations and, sadly, we will lose more of our residents to COVID-19.”

Oswego County Legislature Chairman James Weatherup said the health department is tracking many clusters of cases among family members who live in different households.

“Social gatherings are a major factor in spreading the coronavirus,” said Chairman Weatherup. “We need everyone to follow the advice of the Health Department, practice preventative measures and comply with isolation and quarantine rules.”

This report is current as of 4 p.m. Dec. 13.

Please know that these numbers fluctuate frequently. Recovered people are not deducted from the total number of positive cases.

– Total # of positive cases: 2,661
– Total deaths: 6

Those who are required to quarantine must stay home and away from other members of their household.

“Patients may receive their test results before they are transmitted to the Health Department,” said Senior Public Health Educator Diane Oldenburg. “If you test positive for COVID-19, you must stay home and isolate yourself from others in your household. This means staying in a separate room by yourself, using a separate bathroom if possible and disinfecting it after each use. You must stay six feet away from others, wear a face mask and wash your hands frequently. Do not have visitors to your house and remind those who live in your household that they should also stay home until the Health Department contacts you.”

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.

Health officials strongly urge residents to take these precautions:

– Stay home if you are sick and keep your children home if they are sick.
– Wear a face mask or covering over your nose and mouth.
– Avoid non-essential gatherings of all types.
– 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.
– Call your healthcare provider from home if you are experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath.
– Do not go to the emergency department unless you are experiencing life-threatening conditions.

A list of testing sites and additional information is posted on the health department’s COVID-19 page at health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19.