SUNY chancellor says COVID-19 under control

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SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatros speaks at SUNY New Paltz on Friday

NEW PALTZ – As students return home for the Thanksgiving break, SUNY representatives shared optimistic results regarding their mandatory COVID 19 testing.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said Friday afternoon, during a visit to the SUNY New Paltz campus, out of 140,000 students tested within the two weeks before the break, there were approximately 850 positive cases and a 0.5 percent positivity rate out of 510,000 tests conducted since mandatory testing began at the beginning of the semester.

“We’ve done more testing than some states in the nation have done since the beginning of the pandemic. We’ve done more in two and half, three months, than they’ve done over the course of the entire crisis and if we were a state, we’d have the lowest positivity rate in the nation. That is really impressive,” said Malatras. “That’s not me controlling the virus and that’s not President Christian controlling the virus. It’s the actions and activities of our students, our faculty and our staff. That’s who controls the virus,” he said.

According to both Malatras and SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian, students have been extremely cooperative and responsible about testing.

Upstate Medical School is currently one of 150 areas in the world being used in Pfizer’s vaccine clinical trials. Malatras said the majority of those volunteers are SUNY students.

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan applauded SUNY’s student body and universities for their actions during the pandemic and said they are a model of how everywhere else should deal with it as well.

“It was very clear how seriously the students took their responsibility as members of this community and that has now shown and proven out in the numbers,” said Ryan. “That is a huge credit to the student body and I think for us in the county and in the state and in the country, what SUNY has done is a model that we all should and are trying to emulate,” he said.

If everything progresses as planned, Malatras said SUNY will reopen their campuses on February 1 for the spring semester.