Friday The 13th Brings New COVID Record in Oneida County and a Stern Warning From Picente
Calling it a dire, emergency situation, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente held an emergency press conference Friday afternoon where he announced a single-day record of new COVID cases, 108, and seemed to warn another shutdown of businesses could come as early as next week.
Since last Sunday, Oneida County has seen over 400 COVID positive test results with the county's three largest single-day new case totals all coming this week (108, 74, 70).
Picente pointed to ''gatherings and get togethers that people would have during normal times, but now have led to numerous cases and outbreaks. Halloween was the perfect storm for this virus because it occurred on a weekend, it's a time in which children go door to door, and a time in which children and parents go to parties. I've mentioned weddings, parties and youth athletic travel teams that have continued to travel to other communities in the state and in some instances, to other states.''
If there isn't a change in the current trend, he said, ''you will see drastic action taken.''
While not specifically saying he'd close businesses, Picente referred to the statewide shutdown we experienced in the spring saying, ''We'll go back to where we were in March, but there won't be any federal bailout coming.''
''We'll look at the data over the next several days and determine whether or not action needs to be taken next week,'' he said.
The county executive said the spike his county is experiencing isn't unique to upstate New York, pointing to areas like Albany and Syracuse, both of which are also seeing large increases in active cases.
''[People] are not being as vigilant as they were in April and May. Looking over the data, I'm not sure what happened over the last couple weeks, but we're tracing the cases.....it's gatherings, it's parties, it's weddings. It's things that shouldn't be taking place without masks and distancing,'' but they are, he said.
Saying he didn't to take action, or have the state step-in, Picente pleaded with county residents to return to the discipline they had and precautions they took in the early months of the pandemic.
''Today is a call to action. We have been under a state of emergency since March 13th. If I could order another state of emergency on top of that one, I would.''
The county executive said closing schools and possibly implementing a curfew are all options that he would be considering.