Oneida County reaches 400th COVID-19 death; will partner on new vaccine clinic


Oneida County Health Department officials reported 33 new positive COVID-19 cases and one new COVID-related death on Friday, bring the total number of deaths as a result of the coronavirus to 400 since the pandemic arrived in the region in March 2020. There are 23 patients hospitalized with COVID across the county, officials reported, with 19 at Mohawk Valley Health System facillities and four at Rome Health. There are 456 people in mandatory isolation and 926 in mandatory quarantine, the county added.

Also on Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo noted that the average statewide positivity rate is 3.11% and that Thursday saw 74 COVID-19 deaths across the state. Regarding the infection rates on a downward trend, Cuomo stated that there is still work to do.

In related news, the state is touting the expansion of the New York Forward Rapid Test Program to help businesses and catered events safely reopen, with 26 sites opening within the next week for a total of 38 sites statewide. 

This program makes low-cost rapid testing available to the public to support enhanced economic activity as the State continues to reopen sectors of the economy.To find participants in this initiative and to make an appointment, visit:

Oneida County vaccine partnership

County Executive Anthony J. Picente said Friday the county is partnering with Kinney Drugs to vaccinate 1,100 seniors on March 19 at the Turning Stone Resort event center in Verona. There will also feature a food giveaway at the event - the American Dairy Association Northeast is providing a box of dairy, meat and produce products to all seniors who are vaccinated that day. The event is only open to those aged 60 and older and an appointment is necessary. Those interested should call 315-798-5439.

According to information, on the day of the event, attendees must present an identification card and an insurance card or Medicare card in order to receive their Pfizer vaccine. Second dose appointments will be scheduled for approximately four weeks later.

“As Oneida County continues its push to vaccinate as many of our residents as possible, partnerships like this with Kinney Drugs are vital to our efforts,” Picente said in a statement. “I want to thank them, the Association on Aging in New York, the Oneida Indian Nation and the American Dairy Association Northeast for helping to safeguard and feed our seniors.”

Visiting hours at MVHS

On Wednesday, March 17, the Mohawk Valley Health System will reopen visiting hours for its facilities, with some restrictions still in place.

“As more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine and with the continued decline of COVID patients in our hospitals and those testing positive in our region, we felt comfortable opening up visiting hours for our patients and their families,” said Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, president/CEO of MVHS in a statement. New guidelines are:

For hospitalized patients: Visiting hours are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the week.

There will only be one visitor allowed per two-hour block. Visitors will continue to be screened, have to wear a mask, social distance and stay in the patient’s room.

For outpatient diagnostic and procedural patients (including Surgical Safe Path and Medical Practices) – One support person may go with a patient through the registration process, but then they will be asked to either go to their vehicle or wait in a designated area as long as they can socially distance.

Exceptions are partners of pregnant women can attend an ultrasound, a partner can join a patient at the OB Clinic, and individuals requiring support (e.g., wheelchair).

For maternity patients – Visitation remains the same with one support person staying with the mother throughout her stay (there’s no swapping in and out).

Note that the state Department of Health exceptions still apply for: pediatric patients; patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary) including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia; and patients in immediate end-of-life situations. 

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