Over 100 coronavirus cases at SUNY Oneonta, Gov. Cuomo deploys ‘SWAT team’


ONEONTA, N.Y. (WTEN) — SUNY Oneonta has switched to remote learning for the next two weeks after more than 100 students tested positive for COVID-19.

After reports of several large parties over the weekend, tests were conducted and 105 students tested positive — about 3% of the population. Just last week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said colleges that have 100 cases, or 5% of the population (whichever comes first) would have to switch to online learning for two weeks.

On Sunday, the governor announced the deployment of a “SWAT team” to the campus to help containment efforts. The team includes 71 contact tracers, eight case investigators and three, free rapid-testing sites will be opened in the city. The appointment-only sites will be capable of returning a result within 15 minutes and their locations will be announced on Monday.

“If a private college doesn’t take the dramatic action, the local health department can make the college take close-down procedures. If the local community doesn’t do it, the state can do it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “A 3% infection rate, you know, that’s a high infection rate in a congregate situation. 3% is high in a dense environment, like a dense urban environment where you have people taking public transportation; it’s a crowded environment. 3% is high, so I think the Chancellor is doing the exact right thing at Oneonta and I think he’s taking the right actions across SUNY, and I think the private colleges should really follow the example.

“We understand people want to party, your individual actions have enormous consequences for everyone in your community,” SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said.

The SUNY Chancellor said five students and three campus organizations have been suspended for hosting large gatherings and encouraged students to think about safety.

State guidance for infection rates on college campuses is available here.

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