The county health department’s role in addressing COVID-19 quarantine, isolation and contact tracing

Published date
7:00 p.m.
News Type

As SUNY Morrisville experiences its first increase in positive cases of COVID-19, it is helpful to review how testing, quarantine, isolation and contact tracing are connected, and how local health authorities are involved for everyone’s health and safety. 

If at any time you choose to go off campus for testing, please use your Morrisville address rather than your home address. Using your Morrisville address ensures the Madison County Department of Health (MCDOH) gets timely notification and can act swiftly to keep you and the community safe.  

Notification of test results should only come from health care providers, county health officials or the Student Health Center. Privacy laws still apply, and these professionals are equipped to proceed properly.  

When a person tests positive, or when they are determined to have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive, the county health department is the authority. They work with the court to issue isolation and quarantine orders, as well as to tend to the needs of individuals in quarantine and isolation. Only they can release individuals from quarantine or isolation. SUNY Morrisville is located in Madison County (the Norwich Campus is in Chenango County, though that campus does not have students living on campus). The county has a great FAQ page about quarantine and isolation

The county makes daily checks on individuals in quarantine or isolation to monitor their symptoms and well-being, ensuring their medical, mental health and social needs are met. 

The county also takes responsibility for contact tracing, which is the process of investigating possible exposure of others to a person who has tested positive. Only those individuals deemed to have been at risk of exposure (close contact) will be contacted or notified and does not always mean that every student, faculty or staff member in the same spaces as an infected person will be informed. Contact tracing is designed not to share the name of the person who may have exposed others. The process is kept anonymous and confidential. 

We ask all individuals to be responsive, cooperative, honest and thorough in providing information to contact tracing investigators. Timely responses are key in the effort to contain any potential spread of exposure or infection. 

In New York State, contact tracing calls can come from “NYS Contact Tracing” (518.387.9993). 

If you are considered a contact through a classroom or cocurricular activity, such as athletics training, the county health department will be in touch with you. There is no change you need to make at this time. As the county conducts its contact tracing investigation, students will be informed if they are required to quarantine; the college does not make quarantine or isolation decisions. The college does, however, cooperate with the county to help provide information and resources as necessary and available. 

Please check your email and phone messages closely during this time, in case public health authorities are trying to reach you. 

Daily updates on the college’s COVID-19 testing, quarantine, isolation and other data are available through the SUNY COVID-19 Tracker dashboard webpage. The college posts its latest wastewater data on its own webpage

If you are a student with questions about your health, please contact your health care provider or the Student Health Center during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.  For emergencies, call 911. 

If you have questions about conduct, please contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. If you have COVID-19-related questions or concerns, please use our online form

Mary Bonderoff, EdD | Interim Vice President for Student Affairs
Chief Diversity Officer | She/Her
SUNY Morrisville
80 Eaton Street, P.O. Box 901 | Morrisville, N.Y. 13408
Office: 607.547.1072 | Email: bonderm@morrisville.edu