Local colleges see uptick in COVID cases

Local colleges see uptick in COVID cases
Universities Covid-19 cases (Source: MGN)

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - COVID-19 on the rise again at local colleges. Officials don’t know yet if it’s the so-called “UK variant” sweeping U.S. campuses.

It’s quiet on the SUNY Potsdam campus for the most part. No eating in dining halls. No big gatherings. It’s back to all that.

“I really want to just go to the gym. That’s one of my main things. But really, going to the gym is one of the things I would have wanted to do today,” said Shawn Butts, SUNY Potsdam junior.

Restrictions are back in place with 58 students infected with COVID-19. It’s the largest outbreak there yet. They don’t know if it’s the so-called UK variant, but it looks like it.

“In the fall we certainly had some positive cases...You know, they’d test positive, but they’d have little or no symptoms...What we’re seeing now is students testing positive and being symptomatic,” said Eric Duchscherer, SUNY Potsdam dean of students.

Twelve Clarkson University students have COVID-19. The number at SUNY Canton is 7. Some students think they know why.

“Because we’ve been doing so well, people start getting lax, start getting too comfortable and end up, you know, just not following proper precautions,” said Butts.

The state this week opened up vaccinations for those age 16 and above. Local students are already lining up at the state vaccination site at SUNY Potsdam.

“I want the pandemic to really be over with...Go back to in-person classes, in-person hanging out. Just want everything to go back to normal,” said Justin Killian, Clarkson University junior.

What’s frustrating for these students is they’re almost there. Almost at the finish line. They’ll be taking finals in just about a month.

SUNY Potsdam officials say 1,500 doses of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will soon arrive at the state vaccination site specifically for SUNY students.

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