Possible coronavirus exposures at Madison County Walmart, Price Chopper, Planet Fitness

Oneida, N.Y. — The Madison County Health Department is warning of three potential recent exposures to the coronavirus.

Health officials said that anyone who visited the following locations during the following times should monitor for symptoms:

Planet Fitness, 2002 Glenwood Shopping Plaza, Oneida. Time of exposure: Oct. 20, from 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.; and Oct. 21 and 22, from 5 to 5:15 p.m.

Walmart, 2024 Genesee St., Oneida. Time of exposure: Oct. 22, from 5:30 to 5:45 p.m.

Price Chopper, 142 Genesee St, Oneida. Time of exposure: Oct. 21, from 5:30 to 5:45 p.m.

In all three cases, the individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 who visited the three locations were wearing masks.

The county encourages anyone who visited those locations to monitor themselves for symptoms of Covid-19, which include fever, cough, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny rose, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or difficulty breathing. County officials say anyone who visited Walmart and Planet Fitness in Oneida should monitor for symptoms through Nov. 5; and anyone who was at Price Chopper should monitor through Nov. 4.

“It is important that residents remain diligent and continue to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19,” county health officials said in a news release. “Please protect yourself and others by wearing a face covering when you are out in public, especially when you are unable to maintain social distancing. Also, please practice good hygiene. These guidelines are for all of our protection to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Madison County also announced it has partnered with SUNY Upstate to hold Covid-19 diagnostic mobile testing clinics.

Testing is available to anyone interested at no cost to the patient, however they are by appointment only. To schedule an appoint, call (315) 464-2582 and select option 0.

“They are experiencing longer than usual wait times, so please be patient and remain on hold to book an appointment,” health officials said.

The mobile testing clinics are scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. on the following Thursdays:

Oct. 29 and Nov. 12 at the Madison County Complex parking lot, 138 N. Court St., Wampsville.

Nov. 5 at the Hamilton Village Police Department, 5121 Wings Way, Hamilton.

For more information and a full list of potential exposures, visit the Madison County Health Department website.

Have a tip or a story idea? Contact Catie O’Toole: [email protected]  5/8 text/call 315-470-2134 5/8  Twitter  5/8  Facebook


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Sharp decrease in reported COVID-19 exposures after NBISD changes ‘close contact’ definition

After changing its definition of a “close contact,” New Braunfels ISD reported a sharp decrease in the number of students and faculty exposed to COVID-19.

When NBISD began reopening, the school district northeast of San Antonio used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “close contact” guidelines.

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By that definition, anyone exposed to COVID-19 cases — through a cough or being within 6 feet of the person for 15 minutes — had to quarantine for 14 days, even if they were wearing a mask.

That policy led to 689 students and employees across multiple campuses having to quarantine. But administrators found that only five people out of that number contracted the virus from exposure at school.

Four of the five individuals had “close contact” in athletics, where masks were not being worn, NBISD Superintendent Randy Moczygemba wrote in a letter to parents on Oct. 13. The fifth person had “close contact” while at lunch without a mask.

“Our data indicates that when all students are wearing a mask, students have not contracted COVID-19 while at school,” Moczygemba wrote.

That data led school officials to change how they defined close contacts.

The new policy, which went into effect Monday, considers a person a “close contact” if they are coughed on or within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of at least 15 minutes. But if both individuals were properly masked, the exposed individual will not be considered a “close contact.”

Thus, they would not have to quarantine for 14 days. The district also barred neck gaiters as part of the adjustment.

“We feel confident about the change, but if the change results in students contracting COVID-19 while wearing a mask, we will come back and address that again,” Moczygemba told Community Impact Newspaper.

Since the beginning of the NBISD school year, 39 students and 13 staff members have tested positive for the virus.

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