New Paltz Testing Shows Nine COVID-19 Infections

In Brief – SUNY New Paltz reported nine cases of COVID-19 by Friday morning after mandating all students living in dorms or taking in-person classes be tested.

Of the nine infected students, seven have already recovered, according to the college.

The number of positive cases is higher than in some four-year SUNY schools, such as Geneseo or Potsdam, but pales in comparison to SUNY Albany, where 40 students tested positive, and SUNY Oneonta, where a large outbreak forced the college to cancel in-person classes Sept. 3.

Students returning to New Paltz did not need to be tested but were told to quarantine off-campus for seven days prior to arrival. Students were required to fill out an online form each day with any potential symptoms beginning two weeks prior to arriving on campus.

After a student received a positive test result August 26, the campus reversed course and mandated every student be tested.

Nearly 1,000 students were tested on-campus as of early Friday, according to the college. The nine positive cases include students who were tested at off-campus facilities, such as pharmacies.

More students have been tested as of Friday than was expected when testing was mandated. The campus announced plan would have only been completed in the third week of November.

However, the number of students tested on campus thus far – 988 – includes students who have opted to take on-campus tests prior to their mandated test date, according to SUNY New Paltz spokeswoman Melissa Kaczmarek.

The test plan only mandates 349 students be tested by the end of the week, suggesting the majority of students are opting to get tested before they are required to do so, and the campus is handling the volume.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued guidance soon after SUNY schools reopened requiring the colleges move completely to remote learning if they record 100 cases, or if five percent of the campus tests positive, whichever is lower.

Like all SUNY schools, New Paltz was required to plan how it would “pivot” to all remote learning should there be a resurgence of the coronavirus.

All available research suggests people of college age are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms of COVID-19. Only 112 New Yorkers under the age of 30 have died from the coronavirus, according to the state – about 0.4 percent of fatalities in New York.

Of the 1,246 SUNY students who have tested positive since students began returning to campus about four weeks ago, only one has been hospitalized, and none have died, according to SUNY.

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