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Cuomo: COVID-19 cases in upstate Oneonta continue to climb

A cluster of new COVID-19 cases that originated

A cluster of new COVID-19 cases that originated at SUNY Oneonta has sparked a rise in positive tests for the virus in the upstate city, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday.   Credit: SUNY Oneonta

The number of COVID-19 cases in upstate Oneonta continues to grow — sparked by a cluster originating at the SUNY campus there, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday as the state unveiled a new online dashboard to track cases at all SUNY colleges.

New figures show 11.5% of people tested between the ages of 18 and 24 in the city of Oneonta were positive for COVID-19 — or 85 new cases.

Rapid testing by the state’s virus SWAT team showed overall 91 new positive cases out of 1,965 people tested at three sites in Oneonta for a positive percentage rate of 4.6%.

Almost 600 people on the SUNY Oneonta campus have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, forcing the campus to shut down in-person classes for the rest of the semester. The surge in cases is linked to several parties held as the school reopened in August, officials have said.

SUNY Fredonia has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among the state schools with 66, followed by SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse with 45 cases and SUNY Buffalo with 43 cases, according to the dashboard. Binghamton has 31 positive cases. Stony Brook had 22 as of Monday.

The dashboard also includes information on testing and quarantine protocols.

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"New York State is taking immediate action to address the spread of COVID at SUNY colleges and universities and this new dashboard will help students, parents and faculty stay informed with the latest data," Cuomo said.

The spike in Oneonta cases is in sharp contrast to the state’s overall rate that has remained below 1% for 30 days, according to state figures available on Sunday.

On Long Island, the percentage of positive results inched back down to 1.1% on Saturday after creeping up to 1.4% and 1.5% on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Officials have said some of that increase can be attributed to college students testing positive, even if they are not currently living in Nassau or Suffolk counties.

There are 729 new cases of COVID-19 in New York State, Cuomo said, bringing the overall total to 439,501. Nassau recorded 78 new cases and Suffolk logged 58, according to state figures.

"We continue to closely monitor campus outbreaks, which have been mostly responsible for the slight uptick we've seen in recent days," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement Sunday.

She reminded people traveling from at-risk states to follow quarantine protocols and respond to contract tracers trying to track the path of the virus on Long Island.

"The actions we take now determine what will happen in the coming weeks," she said.

Cuomo said the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state was 410, the lowest since March 16. There were nine new deaths, increasing that toll to 25,359.

He urged people to stay vigilant and take precautions against the virus during the long, sun-soaked holiday weekend.

“As this virus continues to be a national crisis, it's clear that caution is a virtue, not a vice," Cuomo said in a statement. “Our infection rate has been below 1 percent for 30 days, and New Yorkers can help us keep that streak going by wearing masks, socially distancing and washing their hands.”

The State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force checked in on 1,390 bars and restaurants in New York City and on Long Island on Saturday and handed out violations to eight that were not in compliance with state requirements to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Four of those sites were in Suffolk and one in Nassau. The exact locations were not immediately available.

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