8 new cases, 125th death in Oneida County as clusters elsewhere raise concern in state


Oneida County reported eight new cases of COVID-19 on Monday after recording its 125th death related to the disease over the weekend, and as state teams were deployed to investigate clusters downstate and in the Southern Tier that were blamed for a concerning if small uptick in New York's positive-test rate.

As of mid-day Monday, Oneida County had 65 known active cases. Thirteen new cases were reported over the weekend.

Of the 125 people in the county known to have died with COVID, 115 were age 65 and older; 10 were between 45 and 64.

Three patients were hospitalized with COVID Monday, all in the Mohawk Valley Health System. One was a nursing home resident.

In addition to those with active test-confirmed cases, 528 were in mandatory precautionary quarantine.

Regionally, the Mohawk Valley's daily average of test results that were positive stood at 0.4% on a rolling seven-day average, and the average of new cases each day per 100,000 residents over the previous week stood at 2.24. Only the North Country and Finger lakes had a lower daily case average, at 0.99 and 2.17, respectively.

The highest new-case average was in the Southern Tier, at 8.42, and the mid-Hudson, at 6.76.

Statewide, the percentage of tests reported Sunday that were positive for COVID-19 was 1.5 percent, up from below 1% for much of the summer, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to mention the uptick in a conference call with news organizations Monday.

Cuomo said the increase appears to come from clusters in Brooklyn, Orange and Rockland counties. He also mentioned clusters in the Southern Tier linked to a nursing home in Steuben County, a church gathering in Chemung County, and a pub in Broome County. Teams will seek to pinpoint where clusters are in Brooklyn and in Orange and Rockland counties.

Experts had warned that fall requires caution, with opening of colleges, people coming indoors, and the onset of seasonal influenza season, Cuomo noted. He also pointed out high rates in other states, particularly Wisconsin, Iowa, Utah, Missouri and Florida, where rates ranted from 10 to 18 percent.

Later Monday Cuomo offered details of testing in some of the worrisome sports. In some ZIP codes in Rockland and Orange counties, up to 30 percent of results received Sunday were positive, Cuomo said. A Brooklyn ZIP code in New York City had a rate of 17 percent.
However, if the 20 ZIP codes with the highest rates were excluded, the state's rate was about 1 percent, Cuomo added. Those ZIP codes represent 2.9 percent of the state's population but 25 percent of the new cases, he said.

“So focus on the clusters." Cuomo said. "We have 200 rapid testing machines that we’re going to make immediately available, as in today. The public schools, the private schools that are in those ZIP codes I strongly encourage to request a rapid testing machine and have them start testing their students.”

The number of daily positive tests in a state of more than 19 million people still puts New York in a much better position than many other states. Florida, for instance, reported 2,795 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

And New York is in a far better situation than in April, when the number of positive tests per day routinely topped 9,000, even though tests then were hard to get and people were being encouraged not to seek one unless they were gravely ill.

Still, the uptick has been a cause for concern. In New York City, health officials have sounded alarms about a rising number of cases in certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens where many private religious schools opened for in-person instruction in early September, warning that those communities could see severe restrictions on public gatherings reinstated if current trends continue.

Public school students in New York City's elementary, middle and high schools are set to resume in-person instruction this week.

On Friday night, New York City deputy sheriffs broke up an illicit wedding celebration at a hall in Queens after receiving an anonymous complaint about social distancing violations, WNBC-TV reported. The deputies discovered 284 guests attending the event, which included seating, food, alcohol and a live band.

The Oneida County Health Department reported the following cases of possible public exposure to a person with COVID-19 and recommends anyone at these locations at the respective times monitor themselves for symptoms:

Hannaford on Commercial Drive in New Hartford, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 15; self-monitor through Sept. 28.
Walmart on Horatio Street in Utica, noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 22; self-monitor through Oct. 6.
Dollar General at 10372 Pritchard Road, Remsen, approximately 8:30 a.m. to noon and 7:30-7:35 p.m. Sept. 23; self-monitor through Oct. 7.
Bethel Baptist Church, 215 Church St., Prospect, 9:45-11:30 a.m. Sept. 20; self-monitor through Oct. 4
Woodgate Pines Golf Course, 2965 Hayes Road W., Boonville, 5:30-11:30 p.m. Sept. 23; self-monitor through Oct. 7
Aldi, Seneca Turnpike, New Hartford, 5-5:25 p.m. Sept. 24; self-monitor through Oct. 8
Boscov's, Sangertown Square mall, New Hartford, 4:45-5:20 p.m. Sept. 25; self-monitor through Oct. 9.
Walmart, Commercial Drive, New Hartford, 5:25-6 p.m. Sept. 25; self-monitor through Oct. 9.


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