On Monday, Feb. 22, the COVID testing center at SUNY Oneonta administered its 10,000th pool test for COVID since its opening Jan. 18 in preparation for the spring semester.
Pool testing results show the overall positivity rate has fallen from 0.74 percent in late January to 0.19 percent Feb. 19. Repeated testing enables college officials to detect possible spikes in COVID infections and respond in real time to protect the campus community. Acting President Dennis Craig made the announcement in a video shared campus-wide this afternoon, calling it a milestone in the college’s fight against COVID.
“Our number one priority in reopening was protecting the health of each and every member of the SUNY Oneonta community. Our infection rate has remained well under 1 percent so far this semester because of prior planning with community leaders, organizational agility and dedication shared across our campus to get tested weekly,” Craig said. “Thanks to each of you who have made getting a COVID test part of your routine. Committing to test weekly shows that slowing the spread takes all of us doing our part.”"
Following mandatory pre-testing before the start of the spring semester, SUNY Oneonta students who come to campus have been required to test weekly, as have campus employees. To ensure social distancing and accommodate high volume safety, the college set up a testing center in the largest space on campus, the Alumni Field House.
The 10,000th test taker was Clara Culeton. She is a senior majoring in psychology and also a member of the college’s women’s basketball and volleyball teams. “I’m really happy every week to get tested,” said Culeton. “It assures me an opportunity to come on campus and to be able to keep myself and others safe.”
A Team Effort
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tracey Ranieri oversees the testing center. She credits members of her staff, the college’s janitorial staff and other volunteers for making testing convenient.
“We’ve quickly gotten into a rhythm. Custodial staff clean our Field House before testing each week. Our proctors coach students, faculty and staff through test registration and then the test itself. People are in and out in a matter of minutes,” she said. “I’d be surprised if there’s an easier way to get a COVID test and thanks to SUNY’s infrastructure, the results come back quickly, too.”
SUNY Upstate Medical in Syracuse processes SUNY Oneonta’s pool tests. Those who test usually receive their results within 48-72 hours.
Protecting the Oneonta Community
Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said the benefits of the college’s testing center extend beyond campus to the City of Oneonta. (Watch Mayor Herzig's video message to the campus community on Feb. 15.
“I greatly appreciate SUNY Oneonta’s commitment to testing, "Herzig said. "The college’s comprehensive testing program is contributing to the health and well-being of our entire community.”