For the first time in several months, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente held a briefing today to discuss the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the county.

Picente says the number of positive COVID cases have been on the rise over the past several days, with the number of cases at 97 as of Thursday.

Picente says the 97 cases are the highest number in the county since January 29.

There are 498 active positive cases and 21 county residents are hospitalized.

Picente says the number of unvaccinated people is leading to the surge in cases.  He says 75 percent of the active cases are people who are not vaccinated.

Just 59 percent of the adult population in Oneida County is vaccinated.

Picente says they’ll take a look at the numbers over the next few days and decide if they need to take any action.

“On the eve of returning to school, we are heading in the wrong direction. Everyone who can get vaccinated should do so immediately. Unvaccinated Oneida County residents are four times more likely to get COVID-19 and 80 times more likely to be hospitalized from it.  And regardless of your vaccination status, masks should be worn in indoor public settings, especially schools, to protect yourself and others. We have been down this road before, we know what we need to do to stop this from spiraling out of control. Please take the proper steps to stay healthy and safe.” said Picente.

The County Executive had a final message for county residents, "get vaccinated."

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