UTICA — Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. lifted the State of Emergency he declared for the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and all of the executive orders associated with it.
“While the threat of COVID-19 still looms, Oneida County is no longer in an emergency situation because of the pandemic,” Picente said in a statement on Friday. “Effective immediately, I am rescinding the State of Emergency and the Executive Orders I declared over this past year and a half. I am proud of the hard work and dedication of the people of Oneida County who have contributed to pulling us through this public health crisis, and I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and get vaccinated so that we can move on once and for all.”
Exercising Section 24 of the New York State Executive Law and Section 302 of the Oneida County Administrative Code, Picente declared the State of Emergency on March 13, 2020, due to the threat to the health and safety of the residents of Oneida County from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Picente also enacted three executive orders during the pandemic that allowed for his office to approve the purchase of supplies, commodities and services necessary to support the county’s response to COVID-19; the County Executive and the Chairman of the Board of Legislators to approve emergency budget transfers; the Director of Information Technology to approve any capital project expenditures and one that placed a cap on the fees charged by third-party food delivery services to food service establishments.
County cases remain low
In Oneida County, June 30 marked the second time in recent days where there were zero new cases of COVID-19 to be reported after daily testing. June 22 also had zero new cases, and a county spokesman pointed out that daily case numbers have remained under five on average for some time.
In a statement released following the first zero case day, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said, “It has been a long, hard road, but we are finally getting to the end of this pandemic … While having a day with no new positive cases feels like victory, we must continue to keep pushing forward with all of our resolve….”
That push includes continued work to vaccinate the population, officials say.
In Friday statewide numbers, the statewide seven-day average positivity rate was .48%, there were four COVID-19 deaths across the state on Thursday (there have been zero virus-related deaths since June 16) and in a 24-hour period from mid-day Thursday to mid-day Friday, 46,738 state residents received vaccine doses, according to information from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
Addressing the progress, Cuomo said in a statement, “As far as we’ve come with the COVID beast, it is important to remember our fight is not over. The best weapon we have is the vaccine - it is safe, effective and free … If you haven’t already, I encourage you to get your vaccine as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
More positive results statewide
New York state is seeing signs that more people are testing positive for the coronavirus, a contrast from weeks of declining rates of new positive tests. An average of 365 people tested positive each day over the seven day period ending Thursday, according to state data. That’s up 17% from 312 as of a week ago.
Exactly why is unclear, but data show the numbers are rising even as less testing is occurring. The state averaged 75,500 COVID-19 tests in the seven days through Thursday, down from nearly 87,000 the previous week.
Parts of New York City and its suburbs are driving much of the increase in positive tests: Staten Island averaged 33 new positives each day, up 45% from the previous week. Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx also saw upticks to an average of 39, 58 and 29 people testing positive each day, while the rate was flat in Queens at 50.
Still, far fewer people are testing positive in New York now than during this spring: 781 people were testing positive each day in the last week of May.
Meanwhile, hospitals statewide reported a record low of 330 COVID-19 patients as of last Saturday. That figure has fluctuated in recent days to 349 patients as of Thursday. Hospitals in Manhattan, Staten Island and Suffolk counties are reporting among the most patients per-capita in the state.
The Department of Health didn’t say Friday what could be fueling the uptick, which comes ahead of the Fourth of July weekend and a busy travel season.
Case and vaccine information
COVID-19 case numbers and vaccination rates are available on Oneida county’s online Dashboard at: https://bit.ly/3A85tLp. For information on scheduling a vaccination, visit vaccines.gov.
In Oneida County, vaccine appointments and walk-ins are currently available at county-operated sites. To book an appointment, visit www.ocgov.net for more information.