COVID-19 cases decline in Oneida County

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Oneida County reported six new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the lowest number since May 19, when there were five positive tests of 775 tests conducted.

On Sunday, 544 tests were conducted, according to the county’s online COVID-19 dashboard.

The most recent day when new cases numbered fewer than 10 was June 13, when there were eight positive tests.

Four of the six cases Monday involved residents of nursing homes.

No deaths from COVID-19 were reported Monday. So far, 98 county residents have died with COVID-19.

As of noon Monday, 27 county residents were hospitalized with COVID-19, including four at Rome Memorial Hospital, 23 in the Mohawk Valley Health System and four outside the county. Of the 27, 17 were residents of nursing homes receiving acute care, two at Rome Memorial and 15 in MVHS.

The county reported 228 active positive cases as of noon Monday. Since the pandemic arrived locally in mind-March, the county has recorded 1,675 confirmed cases.

The low number follows a week in which the apparent number of cases spiked in what was attributed to a cluster among more than 50 Utica residents who work at an aluminum plant in Montgomery County.

When measured on a seven-day rolling average, the Mohawk Valley still had on Monday upstate’s highest rate of new cases per 100,000 people, 4.83, but its percentage of tests that confirmed COVID-19 fell more in line with other regions on Monday, 1.1 percent. Central New York’s rate was highest in the state, at 1.7 percent.

Oneida County reported 12 new positive cases of COVID-19 Saturday and 19 on Sunday.

One person died with COVID-19, a nursing home resident, the county reported Saturday.

Don't be complacent, governor says

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said metrics of the pandemic have declined since the state began removing restrictions on businesses May 15 even while the rates have increased in many other states. New York City was on track to enter phase three of reopening, and the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island were set to enter phase four later in the week.

However, Cuomo warned against complacency and displayed photos from the holiday weekend of closely gathered crowds in New York City and the popular Long Island beach community of Fire Island. He said New York remains vulnerable to travelers from the 38 states where COVID-19 cases are increasing.

Assembly members call for opening more businesses

Cuomo said movie theaters and non-Native American casinos would remain closed until further notice as state officials analyze more data. Oneida Indian Nation-owned Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona has reopened its main casino with distancing and mask-wearing rules.

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119th Dist. of Marcy, is among New York lawmakers calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration to allow indoor malls, gyms, movie theaters and recreational facilities to reopen from pandemic restrictions.

Buttenschon joined with Assembly members Monica P. Wallace, D-Lancaster, and Kenneth Zebrowski, D-Rockland, to call on adding the business types to those allowed to reopen, with precautions, in phase four of reopening.

Industries allowed to reopen in Phase 4, which upstate New York is in, currently include higher education, low-risk indoor and outdoor entertainment, media production and sports competitions with no fans. But the Cuomo administration excluded gyms, malls and movie theaters until further notice.

The lawmakers said business now excluded would be required to take precautions such as providing sanitizing stations, requiring face masks and enforcing social distancing and capacity limits. Furthermore, they point out that industries similar to the ones excluded, such as aquariums and museums, are allowed to reopen during Phase Four

“Thanks to compliance by citizens and the hard work of our state leaders to protect the public health, New York’s reopening plan has been safe and effective,” Buttenschon said. “However, as we continue fighting to stop the spread of the virus, the lack of guidance as to when large indoor businesses can reopen places an unfair and undue burden on local business owners. They deserve, at the very least, a clear timeline that explains when they can expect to resume operations and a detailed explanation for why they were excluded.”

Public exposure incidents

Over the weekend, the Oneida County identified these incidents of possible public exposure to people known to have COVID-19 and recommended anyone at these locations at these times monitor themselves for symptoms of the disease, which include a high fever, persistent cough and difficulty breathing:

Macy’s at Sangertown Square in New Hartford, involving a cashier, 10:45 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. June 22 and 23. Self-monitor through July 7.

Lucky Mey’s Market, 1633 Oneida St., Utica, 2-3 p.m. June 25. Self-monitor through July 9.

Lowe’s Home Improvement at 710 Horatio St., Utica, 4-4:10 p.m. June 27. Self-monitor through July 11.

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