SU just shy of 100 cases within a 14-day reporting period

SU just shy of 100 cases within a 14-day reporting period

With 98 cases were identified between Oct. 23 and Nov. 6, SU came closer to the threshold of stopping in-person learning.
Published: November 4, 2020 | Updated: November 6th, 2020 at 7:03 pm
Signs reminding students to wear a mask on campus can be found around Syracuse University.

SU reported 98 cases over the 14-day New York State Department of Health reporting period between Oct. 23 and Nov. 6. This comes as Onondaga County has seen record numbers of new cases and has average 83 new cases a day over the past week.

As of 5p.m. on Friday, there are 79 active cases on campus, an increase of 10 since yesterday. There are currently 465 students in quarantine, an increase of 167 since yesterday.

In a campus-wide email Michael Haynie stated that unlike previous surges on campus, many of these cases are not connect to super-spreader events rather, they come from exposures across CNY. As a result, the university is not confident it has traced every contact. Haynie urged students to exercise vigilance and abide by provisions of the Stay Safe Pledge.

“With just 20 days to go until the semester concludes, we need to recommit ourselves to those procedures and precautions, to mitigate the potential for exposure and infection,” said Haynie. “The current level of COVID-19 infection and spread within our community is both a real and present threat to our ability to stay on campus, and to our individual and collective health.”

Gov. Cuomo announced today that he would be meeting with officials in CNY to consider potential restrictions that would be put in place to limit community spread. It is likely these restrictions will be stricter limitations on capacity or limiting tables to four people from 10.

In his email, Haynie also laid out the University’s plan for exit testing as students prepare to move out. Formal departure testing begins on Nov. 11, but the university will provide an earlier test if necessary.

Anne Hayes

New cases continue to rise, with two weeks left on campus
November 5, 2020 5:00 pm

With just over two weeks left on campus, COVID-19 cases have continued to rise since the most recent outbreak late last week.

According to the SU’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are 18 new student cases since yesterday, an increase of 12 active cases.

Now, there are a total of 68 active cases within Central New York, and 298 students in quarantine— an increase of 63 since yesterday.

The current 68 cases is slowly approaching the record of 101 that was recorded on October 14.

In an email to the SU community on Monday, Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie addressed the cluster stating that over 3,000 tests were conducted and more than 150 close contact cases were investigated.

“Right now, we are cautiously optimistic that these clusters have been successfully contained, mitigating the potential for additional community spread.” Haynie said.

Haynie also explained that the rise in cases among students and faculty can be accredited to the “increasing prevalence of COVID-19 infection across Central New York.”

Students are encouraged to remain vigilant and continue to get tested regularly.


Flu Shot given into person's arm - Stock Image
SU giving out flu shots until Friday
November 4, 2020 2:00 pm

Syracuse University is requiring all students and faculty, both off and on campus, to get a flu shot this year. 

Flu shots may be a bit of an afterthought as COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the country, but getting a flu vaccine is now more important than ever. 

Flu shots do not protect against COVID but significantly lower the incidence of illness, allowing healthcare professionals to dedicate the already limited public resources to fight the pandemic. 

According to the CDC, flu shots reduce the risk of contracting the illness and diminish its severity, ultimately lowering the likelihood of flu-related hospitalizations — the last place where patients are being treated for COVID is in hospital or doctor’s clinics. In addition, lowering the incidence of flu-related cases will help to save healthcare resources like hospital beds and ventilators for COVID-19 patients, especially in places where facilities are under considerable stress.

Health experts are also unsure what could happen if an individual contracts both the flu and COVID in close succession. The consequences could mean severe damage to one’s respiratory health and overall ability to recover. 

“We don’t yet know whether that could compound either illness, but why take the risk.” Dr. Ashish Jha from the Harvard Global Health Institute said.

In some cases, COVID and flu symptoms may appear nearly indistinguishable, as overlap includes fever, body aches, and congestion. The university’s Barnes Center at the Arch plans to treat students with any combination of common symptoms on a case by case basis. If doctors are given reason to believe that a student may have contracted either, they will likely be administered a rapid COVID test as precaution.

The university has taken extra steps to ensure that flu shots are widely accessible to the campus community. For the local, it is extremely easy to schedule an appointment through the university’s patient portal. Appointments are posted three days in advance, in fifteen-minute increments at both the Stadium and Sky Barn on South Campus. Students are required to bring a filled-out consent form and their pharmacy benefit card or health insurance card, but those who are enrolled in the SU Student Health Insurance Plan do not need to bring any insurance information.

Those individuals who received an on-campus vaccine will automatically have record proof of immunization on their patient portal whereas off-campus vaccine documentation will have to be manually uploaded by themselves. The university is adamant that everyone has proof of a flu shot before returning to campus in the Spring. 

The deadline for university-administered flu shots is Friday, Nov. 6. After this, students and faculty will have to make outside appointments through their doctor’s office or local pharmacy.