By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The campuses have been the source of one third of all cases in the county in 2021, and rose to 47 percent of cases in one 10-day period, the county Health Department reported last week.
As of Tuesday, March 9, there were 77 active college student cases between the two schools, bringing the county total above 200 for the first time since late January.
Since students returned in January, there have been 262 confirmed COVID cases at the two colleges. This means 10.8 percent of people on campus at Hartwick and 5.5 percent at SUNY Oneonta have been infected with the virus this year. In comparison, 2.2 percent of all Otsego County residents became infected in the same period.
“My concern, as the city health officer, is that the majority of spread is off-campus in the community,” said Dr. Diane Georgeson. “We know the students are out and about. They’re in the bars or in the restaurants.”
She also worries that the rest of the population may have higher rates than are known. “We are not broadly testing the community. You know, the student populations are being tested, even the asymptomatic students,” she said. “…So what concerns me is that there’s probably more positivity – within the city of Oneonta and within Otsego county – than is being reflected in the number of cases that the county Health Department is reporting.”