OSWEGO, NY – With cases of COVID-19 surging again in Oswego County, officials are reminding people to get vaccinated, follow public health recommendations, and comply with isolation and quarantine orders from the County Health Department.
County Legislature Chairman Jim Weatherup said that Oswego County, and many neighboring counties, continue to see high transmission rates of the virus.
As of Sept. 8, there are currently 458 active cases in Oswego County, and nearly 1,000 people are in mandatory isolation or quarantine.
“With the recent surge in testing and positive cases, our Health Department is finding that many people, especially parents, did not follow isolation and quarantine orders because they don’t take the virus seriously. Many children in school are not eligible for the vaccine or have not been vaccinated yet. With the start of the new school year, it’s important that everyone – including parents and students – do everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes following isolation and quarantine orders,” said Chairman Weatherup.
“Isolation and quarantine are proven methods of protecting the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease such as COVID-19,” said Jodi Martin, Supervising Public Health Nurse for the County Health Department. “With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, I urge citizens to comply with isolation and quarantine orders and recommendations. Additional preventive measures include wearing a mask while indoors, social distancing, and most importantly, getting vaccinated.”
Diane Oldenburg, Senior Public Health Educator for the County Health Department, offers these reminders:
When family members are placed on isolation or quarantine it’s important that they stay home and do not allow anyone to come over to the house.
All unvaccinated household members need to stay home. Those who are vaccinated, and who do not have any symptoms of COVID 19 will not be quarantined.
Isolating young children can be difficult as they cannot be left unsupervised. In these cases, one parent should be the primary care giver for the child.
Allowing a sick or recovering child to return to normal activities prior to their release from isolation puts friends and family members in jeopardy of becoming ill or being quarantined after they are exposed to this child.
“Within the home, it is important that sick family members are isolated from the rest of the family — meaning they are in a separate sleeping area, have their own bathroom if possible, and do not share common areas in the house during the isolation period when they are infectious,” said Oldenburg. “If bathrooms must be shared, they should be disinfected between uses.”
According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unvaccinated people have five times more COVID-19 infections and 29 times more hospitalizations than those who are fully vaccinated. Anyone age 12 and older is eligible to receive the vaccine. Vaccines are widely available in Oswego County through the County Health Department, local pharmacies and community health care clinics, and local physicians.
Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director, compared data from a 3-week pre-vaccination period, Nov. 5 to Nov. 27, 2020, to the 3-week period of Aug. 6 through Aug. 27, 2021, when the vaccine was widely available to people aged 12 and older. Although there were similar rates of increased new cases of COVID, there were significantly fewer hospitalizations and deaths in August 2021.
Between Nov. 5 and Nov. 27, 2020, 36 Oswego County residents were hospitalized, and 12 residents died of COVID. Between Aug. 6 and Aug. 27, 28 residents were hospitalized, and the state Health Department reported that two residents died of COVID-19. Those who were fully vaccinated who required hospitalization or died in August had underlying medical conditions that made them more likely to become seriously ill.
Huang said that compared to last November, new COVID cases decreased in people aged 35 and older in August 2021, and increased in people aged 34 and younger.
“Precautions such as masking in schools, following isolation and quarantine orders, maintaining social distancing, and getting vaccinated are all designed to keep our community safe, reduce the burden of COVID, protect our healthcare system and keep our schools and businesses open and operating safely,” said Huang.
People who have questions or concerns about isolation and quarantine orders may call the County Health Department’s COVID hotline Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 315-349-3330. Information is also available on the Health Department’s website at https://health.oswegocounty.com/.