OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras met with SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley and City of Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow on Wednesday afternoon after an increase of COVID-19 cases on campus.
As of Wednesday, Sept. 9, the college has reported an estimated 47 total positive cases on campus since the end of August. Six of those positives were reported this past week, according to the SUNY COVID-19 tracker.
“Unfortunately, we still have COVID. It exists and we have to be aggressive and vigilant,” said Malatras. “I am supremely confident in what President Stanley and her entire team is doing here to mitigate those efforts.”
The chancellor says Stanley has set up a testing site on campus for new pooled testing to be done by SUNY Upstate. SUNY Upstate’s new pooled surveillance testing program will ramp up COVID-19 testing for New York state colleges, which Malatras says will increase the protection on campuses and increase the health and safety for students, faculty, and staff. SUNY Oswego has performed over 6,000 tests to date.
The college has also increased its rooms for quarantine capacity. 71 students are currently in quarantine and 37 are in isolation on campus.
The increases in COVID-19 cases on college campuses has been a concern for neighbors.
“Many of the people who work on campus, whether you are in food services or a faculty member or some other sector here, you’re part of the larger Oswego community. You live in this community. You want to protect this community and we want to protect you. So that joint effort has worked well. I thank the mayor for all of his support,” said Malatras. “That relationship with us is a critical element.”
Barlow dedicated police patrols to visit off-campus housing as students moved in in August, as a proactive effort to remind them of the rules against mass gatherings. Since Barlow says the increase of officers on weekends has broken up parties with students and has even stopped gatherings from happening.
The City of Oswego is also participating in wastewater surveillance programs that track COVID-19, working with the SUNY college, and sharing its data to combat the spread of the virus.
“We are working together on multiple fronts and we are pleased with the partnership we have and look forward to continuing it,” said Barlow.
“Our students want to succeed. They really want the campus to stay up and running,” said Stanley. “Students are starting to get the message that this is a really important responsibility that they have to comply with what’s necessary to contain and to lessen the spread of this disease on our campus and throughout our entire community.”