Pendergrast to toll bells Thursday for COVID-19 victims one final time before retirement

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Each Thursday at noon, since March 19, the Rev. Samuel Pendergrast, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church on West Court Street, has been tolling the church bells a total of 19 times for the victims and families of COVID-19, and to honor essential workers.

This Sunday, Aug. 16, Pendergrast will toll the bells one last time as he enters his retirement. Church and community members are invited to gather in the church parking lot around 11:50 a.m. and pray in silence as the bells ring. Some Rome Clergy Association colleagues will also join the commemoration.

Those who attend must wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Oneida County reported 24 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the most since 24 were also reported July 29.

As of noon Tuesday, the county had 116 known active cases, 1,915 resolved cases, and 1,058 people in mandatory quarantine. No deaths related to COVID were reported.

Nine county residents were hospitalized with COVID-19, including one at Rome Memorial Hospital, seven in the Mohawk Valley Health System, and one outside the county. Two people in the MVHS were residents of nursing homes.

Regionally, the positive test rate was at 1 percent over the previous seven days, compared to the statewide rate of 0.9 percent. The number of new cases daily per 100,000 residents was 3.53, compared to the state rate of 3.23, and was the state’s second highest after 3.59 on Long Island.

In Albany, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Alaska, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington were removed from the list of states whose residents must quarantine for two weeks when they travel to New York. Added to the list were Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands.

The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

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