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Two Oneida County residents test negative for coronavirus, officials explain protocol

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente with Director of Health Phyllis Ellis.

Two Oneida County residents, who are both physicians, have tested negative for the coronavirus. After returning from a trip to Italy, one of the physicians had flu-like symptoms. They are currently at home in self-isolation for 14 days. 

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said the system they have in place to deal with the coronavirus worked.

“The system worked because people got tested immediately upon evaluation of these symptoms and the circumstance to which they had occurred,” Picente said.

People are not just randomly tested. There have to be certain circumstances, like returning from one of five countries under travel advisories, including China, Iran, South Korean, Italy or Japan. Oneida County Director of Health Phyllis Ellis said if you’ve traveled to one of those countries and you have respiratory symptoms, like shortness of breath, cough or fever, call your health care provider.

“Tell them your symptoms, give them all your history, they will refer that to us," Ellis said. "We will be contacting you by phone, to tell you we’re from the health department and we’d like your information about your travel, and your contacts and your exposures. That information we relay to state health, and will determine if you are a candidate for a test or not."

The majority of people who are exposed to the coronavirus will not have symptoms. Ellis said those most susceptible to getting sick are immunocompromised or have chronic illnesses.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.