Oneida Co. Executive sits down with NewsChannel 9 to talk about recent Omicron cases

Coronavirus

UTICA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On Tuesday afternoon, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente announced two cases of the Omicron variant were detected in the county.

“Oneida County has confirmed with the New York State Health Department that we have two cases of COVID-19 that have tested positive for the Omicron variant,” Picente explained. “We are conducting a full investigation.”

NewsChannel 9 sat down with the County Executive to talk about plans to contain the spread moving forward and Picente’s message to the rest of Central New York.

“We didn’t want to be the first in this.”

anthony picente, oneida county executive

Picente said the biggest concern throughout the contact tracing process was the potential threat of international travel. The two confirmed Omicron cases are not a result of travel.

“The biggest sign for us is that there was no international travel recorded,” Picente explained. “So, it says it’s somewhere here. Where? We don’t know.”

According to the investigation conduced by the NYS DOH and Oneida County Health Department, both cases were also not a result of the Javits Center exposure linked to some of the first reported Omicron cases in New York.

The two individuals diagnosed with the new variant are over the age of 65. Both have experienced COVID symptoms but Picente says they’re on the road to recovery.

“All of that points to the good. In line with Dr. Fauci’s statement of that it’s more contagious or can spread, it’s not as severe,” Picente said.

Both were vaccinated against COVID-19, but not boosted yet. Neither were hospitalized but there is still a concern about a potential overflow of potential Omicron cases impacting hospitals that are already strained.

“The first concern is public health making sure people are not hospitalized and getting severely ill. The secondary piece is what happens elsewhere. What happens to the collateral damage that takes place such as lost work, lost school, lost time, all of that gets coupled in and people have to remember that,” Picente explained.

Picente also wants people to remember the message that’s been constant throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Continue to wear masks in public. Get vaccinated if you haven’t already and get boosted.”

ANTHONY PICENTE, ONEIDA COUNTY EXECUTIVE

All strategies to keep you and your loved ones safe while trying to contain the spread of the Omicron variant.

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