County prioritizing testing for COVID-19

Local health officials are following state Department of Health recommendations to focus on only testing the people with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath).

“At this moment, we do not have the supply to test every resident,” said Public Health Director Eric Faisst. “We are using very specific conditions to evaluate whether to test for COVID-19. This will ensure that we prioritize the resources to meet the most urgent public health need.”

Those prioritized for testing must fall into one of these categories to conserve testing supplies:

  1. Has come into close contact (same office, classroom, gatherings) of another person known to be positive;
  2. Has traveled to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice;
  3. Is under quarantine; or
  4. Has already tested negative for other types of infections (rapid flu tests, respiratory panel).

Only residents who meet one of the above testing criteria should contact their healthcare provider to get tested. This will allow healthcare providers and the Health Department to focus on the residents with the most need.

It is important to note that while awaiting test results, patients will be placed on quarantine to protect the health of others. The Health Department will work with the patient before they leave their healthcare provider’s office to determine the best location for quarantine. Madison County will remain in contact with the patient daily until the test results are reported.

The Health Department would like to remind people is that it is not enough for only sick people to stay away from public spaces; everyone needs to practice social distancing at this time.

“We encourage community members to change their behavior by avoiding unnecessary activities,” Faisst said. “This concept of social distancing is a strategy used to slow and, ultimately, stop the spread of germs. Limit your exposure to other people, whether to protect yourself from getting the virus or not wanting to unknowingly spread it to others.”

For the state Department of Health criteria for testing, visit For more information and the most accurate numbers on COVID-19 testing of Madison County residents, visit

Health Department in touch with Colgate University after out-of-state student tests positive

Madison County Health Department has been in touch with Colgate University regarding a student who tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The student is not a Madison County resident and is in their home state; while at Colgate University, the student was living off campus in a private house.  They tested positive after being in their home state. Madison County continues to have zero positive tests.

The Health Department is aware that this student tested positive and is in touch with individuals who may have been in contact with the student before they left the state.

Individuals who are confirmed to have been in contact will self-quarantine for 14 days after last contact.

Those individuals will be tested and monitored. 

“We are closely monitoring the situation,” Faisst said. “We understand that this will heighten the concern of many of our residents but at this time the risk to the general public is still considered low.”

“This is a great time to remind everyone we are asking for your help to make sure that emergency department treatment remains available for people who truly need it,” Faisst said.  “In addition to caring for people with severe illnesses, local hospitals still have to manage their regular patient caseload.”

Most people experience mild illness and recover from COVID-19 without needing medical treatment.

If you become sick, stay at home and hold off on trips to public places and events until you are well. Faisst urges those who are not seriously ill to avoid hospital emergency departments, instead contact their primary care doctor or health clinic.  There is a 24-hour SUNY Upstate Medical University COVID-19 triage hotline; the number is 315.464.3979.

Call your doctor right away or get emergency care in the event of severe or worsening illness.

People who have conditions that may result in more severe illness from COVID-19 should call their health care provider if they have symptoms of COVID-19. These people include women who are pregnant, older adults and persons of any age who have a preexisting medical condition.

Unless you have been given specific instructions from the Health Department or a healthcare provider, go about your daily lives, but take certain precautions:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands)
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • If you feel sick, stay home
  • Should you become ill, contact your doctor first before visiting their office to make arrangements for care
  • If you are well, you do not need to wear a facemask. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms to prevent the spread of the disease or by health care providers

Stay informed. For more information about the novel Coronavirus, visit, call the state coronavirus hotline at 888.364.3065 or visit

By martha

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