November 30, 2021

Cortland County to get new COVID test sites

coronavirus particles

Three free rapid coronavirus testing sites open today in Cortland County, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.

Those sites are:

  • Cortland Junior-Senior High School, 8 Valley View Drive, Cortland.
  • Homer Intermediate School, 58 Clinton St. Homer.
  • Marathon High School, 1 E. Main St. Marathon.

People must schedule an appointment. Testing was available between noon to 4:30 p.m. today and will be available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“Testing for COVID-10 leads to quick identification of cases and immediate isolation of the person to prevent further spread in our community,” said Lisa Perfetti, the county’s interim health director Thursday in a news release. “Confirmed cases and close contacts to positive cases are quarantined to further reduce the spread.Testing is a vital tool for public health officials to monitor the COVID-19 infection rate and to identify asymptomatic carriers in the community.”

The announcement comes two days after Cuomo said Cortland County was a micro-cluster after an increase in positive cases. Cortland County has had 475 total positives and has 24 current positive cases, according to the news release.

The county has reported 697 positive cases since the pandemic began, and 161 of them were active on Wednesday as another 1,321 people were being monitored. However, the governor said the county had only 475 cases since March and only 24 currently positive.

The spike began about the time SUNY Cortland students returned for the fall semester, and since Aug. 21, county figures show that more than 600 new cases have been confirmed. However, the virus has spread beyond the campus community, Perfetti has said.

Of the 40 potential public exposures since the beginning of September, most have been downtown businesses, often frequented by students.

However, two churches and other businesses outside that area have been affected.

Further, Perfetti has said, small gatherings, either at businesses or elsewhere, have fed the rise in cases.

Still, people are going about their daily lives, even when they may have COVID symptoms, perhaps mistaking the virus for allergies or maybe a mild cold.

“Most have mild symptoms that they do not recognize as COVID,” Perfetti said Wednesday during a news conference on the county’s increasing numbers.

She said people are encouraged to stay home if they have any of the coronavirus symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

Cortland City Enlarged School District Superintendent Robert Edwards sent an email to district parents Thursday stating a testing site would be in the gymnasium of the Junior/Senior High School.

“When the testing site closes on Sunday, the NY State Department of Health will conduct a deep cleaning of the site,” he said. “The site will also be cleaned by our staff on Monday and Tuesday, prior to the return of the in-person high school students.”

He also said students are not required to get tested to continue in-person schooling.

“We will continue to follow all of our safety protocols of temperature screening and daily attestations,” he said.

To ensure the testing site is safe access to the building will be limited and there will be no public restrooms, he said.

The county selected the schools because the state said they needed facilities that could accommodate parking and flow in and out and have internet access — with gyms being the perfect opportunity, said Clerk of the Legislature Eric Mulvihill Thursday.

None of those schools are doing in-person learning at the moment.

As of Thursday afternoon 100 people had registered at Homer, 93 at Cortland and 20 at the Marathon location, Mulvihill said.