Governor Cuomo Details NYS Department of Health’s Investigation into Two COVID-19 Clusters in Upstate New York

Clusters Discovered at Oswego County Apple Packaging Plant and Montgomery County Aluminum Manufacturer Through the State and Local Government’s Contact Tracing Efforts

Isolation and Quarantine Measures Are in Place for Positive Cases and Known Contacts Associated with Each Cluster

Albany, NY (STL.News) New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced the New York State Department of Health’s contact tracing program has identified and is investigating two clusters related to COVID-19 in Upstate New York.  The clusters are being tracked by the New York State Department of Health in conjunction with local health departments.  For each cluster, isolation and quarantine measures are in place for positive cases and known contacts.  Everyone who tested positive is isolated, and every contact of a known positive is quarantined.  The Governor also reminded all New Yorkers to answer calls from Contact Tracing System and get tested if you experience symptoms.

“Our strategy since the reopening began has been to test, trace and isolate – and we have good news that our strategy and our contact tracing system is working,” Governor Cuomo said.  “Through this system we have traced back positive cases to an Oswego County apple packaging plant and a Montgomery County aluminum manufacturing plant that have created small upticks in these two region – and thanks to our contact tracing program we found these clusters quickly, allowing us to address them immediately and help prevent the virus from spreading further.  We have worked together to flatten the curve and get where we are today, but we can’t stop now.  To all New Yorkers – continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance and get tested if you have symptoms.”

Oswego County Apple Packaging Plant: In mid-June, contact tracing efforts revealed that three new positive COVID-19 cases were employees of an apple packaging plant in Oswego County.  Over the next days, State DOH and the Oswego County Health Department tested known contacts of positive cases, including employees of the plant, and set up a free testing site at an apartment complex where a number of the employees and their families reside.  Out of 179 employees, 82 have tested positive to date.  The plant remains closed as the cluster is investigated and contained.  Many of the plant’s employees reside in either Onondaga County or Oneida County, contributing to the recent uptick in confirmed positive cases and percentage of positive test results in both counties and the Central New York and Mohawk Valley regions.  Additionally, as a result of the community testing and investigation efforts undertaken by State DOH and Oswego County Health Department, a possible connection was found to a local onion farm. All 18 staff of the farm have been tested, with 4 positive cases to date.

Montgomery County Aluminum Manufacturer: As part of the contact tracing efforts related to the Oswego County apple packaging plant, it was revealed that several employees of the apple packaging plant may have contributed to new COVID cases at an aluminum production plant in Montgomery County where several cases amongst employees had been identified.  The aluminum factory is open 24 hours a day with four different employee shifts, and to date the majority of cases have all been associated with one shift and one of the two buildings on the premises.  The factory remains closed as the cluster is investigated and contained.  A number of employees of the aluminum factory reside in Utica in Oneida County, contributing to the recent uptick in confirmed positive cases and percentage of positive test results in the Mohawk Valley.  Testing operations have been set up both at the plant in Montgomery County and in Utica for employees who are not scheduled for a shift.  On June 25th, State DOH and Oneida County Health Department partnered with community representatives to do a testing event in Utica, as well as set up ongoing testing opportunities for community members who may have been exposed.  To date, 37 positive cases with this cluster have been identified with additional test results still pending, and 200 of the remaining employees are being tested today across the other shifts and buildings.