Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said the policy was revised to reflect reduced case counts. It may be changed if COVID-19 positivity rates increase again or if new variants are found in the county.
As of March 3, Oswego County schools and leagues will be allowed to admit the lesser of two home team spectators per athlete, or 50 percent of their spectator area at indoor events, and athletes will be able to travel to sporting events in other Section III counties. Section III includes Oswego, Onondaga, Cayuga, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Herkimer, Cortland, Chenango, and Tompkins counties.
Ice hockey, basketball, contact lacrosse, rugby, competitive cheerleading, group dance, volleyball and wrestling are among the sports categorized by New York State as “higher risk.” Each local county health department is responsible for defining the requirements for permitting these activities.
Huang said the data shows that the COVID-19 virus is still active in the community and that people must continue to be cautious.
“In looking at the data over the past three months, we see that the rate of new positive cases declined in February,” said Huang. “But even so, our 7-day accumulated counts in February were much higher than the pre-vaccine period in October 2020. This means that the virus continues to be very active in our county and case counts could become high again. All of us need to continue to practice our preventive measures. Wear a face mask, keep social distancing, wash your hands frequently and avoid non-essential gatherings.”
Other provisions of Oswego County’s policy on higher-risk recreational and K through 12 school sports remain in effect. Student-athletes may participate in organized recreational leagues or K-12 school sports in Oswego County, provided these guidelines are met:
- Sports activities will be placed on pause if the 7-day rolling average of test positivity is more than 8% in the CNY region as found on https://forward.ny.gov/early-warning-monitoring-dashboard.
- The County Health Department reserves the right to pause all higher risk sports should Oswego County experience a spike in new cases.
- School districts and youth sports leagues must follow the New York State “Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” posted at https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SportsAndRecreationMasterGuidance.pdf.
- School districts and recreational leagues must submit plans to the County Health Department at [email protected]
- Car-pooling and overnight travel are discouraged.
- New York State social distancing and other guidelines should be followed.
- Each school’s medical director must approve the district or school’s participation in higher-risk sports. The Health Department recommends that the school board of education or board of directors also approve the district or league’s participation in each specific sport.
- Travel to and from interstate competitions is prohibited.
Huang said the COVID virus may be spread in locker rooms, school buses, and other areas in addition to sports event venues.
“Symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus,” said Huang. “Masking, distancing, and other mitigation measures reduce, but do not eliminate risk. Further, there is significant risk of transmission to those in the home of an infected student-athlete. Ultimately, the decision falls on a parent or guardian to decide whether they will allow their child to participate in a given sport or activity.”
More information is posted at https://health.oswegocounty.com/information/2019_novel_coronavirus/information_for_schools.php and https://health.oswegocounty.com/information/2019_novel_coronavirus/resources.php.
Those with questions may call the Oswego County Health Department COVID-19 hotline at 315-349-3330 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.
New York State provides online links to report violations of health and safety restrictions and requirements for businesses, gatherings, and individuals. To file a complaint about a business, location or incident in your community, go to https://mylicense.custhelp.com/app/ask. To file a complaint against your employer or place of work, go to https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/coronavirus-complaints.shtm.