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Some SUNY/CUNY students to be quarantined in Western New York

Posted at 10:37 AM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 18:20:30-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Andrew Cuomo provided an update Wednesday morning regarding the status of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in New York State.

Currently, there are six confirmed cases of the virus in New York State. At this time there are no confirmed cases in Western New York. Testing on a Buffalo-area family that recently returned from Italy have come back negative.

During his news conference, the governor also announced that 300 SUNY/CUNY faculty and students will be returning from the five most affected countries. A timetable on their return has not been released. However, we're told they will be quarantined in controlled dorm facilities in Western New York, Long Island and in the Rome/Utica area. It is unclear where the quarantine dorm will be in Western New York.

A. Scott Weber, The University at Buffalo Provost, said the school's been working since mid-January to prepare for a situation like this.

"We've had constant conversations with our housing and dining facilities about what we might do in the event that we had such situations, and we think we have some plans that are evolving through that process," Weber said.

The University at Buffalo said it has nine students studying abroad in the most affected countries; eight in Italy and one in South Korea. SUNY Fredonia said it has five students in study abroad programs in Italy that are affected. SUNY Geneseo has ten students studying in countries that are affected.

UB said it's following CDC guidelines, and does not plan to bring home students studying abroad in other countries at this time. However, all student international trips, even to unaffected countries, are canceled for the remainder of the semester. With spring break approaching, including for students abroad, the student health center said there are many factors to consider.

"We strongly recommend they look at where they're going, where their layovers are, if they have a way of backing out of that without a big financial impact," said Susan Snyder, Director of the student health center.

Nationally, there are currently 118 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., including nine deaths.

Symptoms of the virus can include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Here's a message about COVID-19 from Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein.