County Executive: Oneida County could postpone local elections, no confirmed COVID-19 cases in county


UTICA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — COVID-19 continues to spread throughout New York State, as of Sunday afternoon there were 729 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, but there has yet to be a confirmed case in Oneida County.

At a press conference on Sunday, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. announced there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, but the county is still awaiting 15 test results.

It was also announced that Oneida County will set up a call center on Monday for people to call with any questions regarding the coronavirus. The number to call will be announced on Monday.

The county executive also asked New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to postpone local elections that are scheduled to take place in Oneida County on Wednesday. At the press conference, Picente said if the governor does not take action to postpone the elections, he may step in to do so. 

Picente is worried about the workers at the local elections, as many of them are elderly and they come in contact with many people during their shifts.

Currently, Oneida County is monitoring about 30 people who are under quarantine, but none of them have tested positive for the virus.

The Oneida County Executive also shut down any rumors of people having the virus within the county. Picente said if there is a confirmed coronavirus case in Oneida County, either the Oneida County office or Governor Cuomo’s office would notify the public immediately.

During his announcement, Picente continued to encourage social distancing, and wants people to avoid social gatherings.

He also recommended any community gatherings of over 50 people be postponed until at least April 14. Picente also believes we may still be dealing with the coronavirus past the April 14 date.

Oneida County made the decision to close all public schools on Friday, and Picente elaborated on the decision during the press conference. The county executive said although school is closed, this is not a vacation for students. School districts are implementing their own education systems during the closure, and arrangements have been made to provide food to students who need it.

The county executive said although there are no confirmed cases in the county, there is still an immense amount of stress and anxiety that is being put on the students, and the best thing to do is to stay home.

At the press conference, Picente directed all senior centers and congregate dining centers to be closed until at least April 14. Seniors who depend on meals from the senior centers will have their meals delivered to them.

The county executive is extremely worried about the older population, and urges them to stay home as much as possible, as they are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Oneida County DMVs will also be cancelled for a week, and this decision will be re-evaluated next week. The county executive says most actions that are done at the DMV can be completed online.

Also during the coronavirus pandemic, Oneida County board meetings will be closed to the public, but they will be streamed online

The county also announced they are trying to test as many people as possible, and are working to set up more remote testing sites in the county.

At the press conference, it was re-iterated that insurance companies in New York State will not charge copays for COVID-19 testing.

If you want to get tested for COVID-19, you need to call your primary care doctor first, and they will determine if your situation warrants a test. If you do not have a primary care doctor, call an urgent care facility, but do not show up to the urgent care site without notifying someone there first. This way they can prepare for your visit, and ensure no one else gets infected while you are there.

If you are tested, you are immediately put under a 14-day quarantine, and even if the test comes back negative, you must complete the 14-day quarantine. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, you will be under quarantine for at least 14 days and will have to produce two negative test samples until the quarantine is lifted.

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