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“Cause for Concern” in Oneida County as COVID-19 numbers spike

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo

COVID-19 numbers are spiking in Oneida County, and County Executive Anthony Picente is calling on everyone to step up their precautions.

The county logged a 97 case day Thursday, a dramatic spike from a zero case day in early July. Picente said it’s the largest number since January.

“I care about this community, this county, these schools, these business,” said Picente. “What we went through a year ago, we are heading there again. It is not fallacy, it is fact.”

Picente is asking everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible. He said the county statistics show unvaccinated people are four times more likely to get COVID-19 and 80 times more likely to end up hospitalized with the virus.

He’s also strongly recommending that people—vaccinated or not—wear masks.

"The actions that will bring these numbers down are in your hands, are in everyone's hands,” said Picente. “For those people who have gotten vaccinated, it is safer. The percentages, the numbers don't lie, and they show it."

Picente is also urging calm after multiple contentious school board meetings. He said county sheriff’s deputies were at meetings where anti-mask parents became angry and hostile toward school board members.

"It's really unfortunate that this has gotten to the levels of anger that it has,” said Picente. “This is not what we should be doing in the time of a pandemic, at a time when we're trying to keep our people safe, all of our people."

Picente said the county plans to follow Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mandates for masking in schools. At this point, he is not instituting a county-wide mask mandate, but he said he has taken action before, and he’s not afraid to take action again if the COVID-19 numbers keep going up.