Broome Briefing; Surveillance testing at BU, grade school reopening


BINGHAMTON, NY – Broome County Executive Jason Garnar is crediting Binghamton University and its students for helping to keep the county’s COVID-19 numbers in check.

During his weekly briefing today, Garnar cited the low number of positive cases uncovered by the university when it initially tested all students living on campus and while it now continues spot testing of students, something referred to as surveillance testing.

Only 28 of over 6,200 on campus students tested positive and only 3 out of over 600 surveillance results.

In both cases, the positivity rate has been at or below point 5%, which is below the statewide average.

“So far, the numbers have been really, really good. Contrast that with what’s happened at Oneonta, where there were 600 positives and they had to shut the whole campus down and go virtual and send the students home. That was the worst case scenario and we’re doing a great job with our Binghamton University numbers,” says Garnar.

Garnar says the next challenge is seeing how the reopening of grade schools will affect the numbers with most schools planning to reopen over the next week.

The county health department says it has met with all of the local districts to go over their safety plans and to discuss what situations might lead to a school closure.

County Health Director Rebecca Kaufman says schools will have the ultimate say in when they should transition to all virtual but that it will likely occur in one of two scenarios: either proof that the virus is spreading within a building, or if too many teachers are placed into quarantine making in-person instruction infeasible.

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