UTICA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente warned he may be forced to take drastic action as soon as next week if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.
At a hastily called news conference, Friday Picente reported that since Sunday there were 400 new positive cases in the county. 108 of those cases came Friday. He again pleaded for residents to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings.
He says the virus is real and that one in twenty five of county residents who tested positive have now died from it.
He urged school superintendents to stop sports programs and other activities. He says the problem is not among the students, or in the classroom, the new positives are coming from the ranks of coaches and parents attending the events.
He also asked clergy for their assistance, because of a number of outbreaks at churches.
Picente says the other places triggering the increase in cases are gatherings like Halloween parties, weddings, showers, and other events.
He says people are not being as smart or as careful as they were in the past. He said our fate is in our own hands.
Picente warned that if the county or state is forced to take actions that shut down activities there are no federal stimulus checks, expanded unemployment benefits, or paycheck protection programs available to help shuttered businesses and idled workers this time around.
He noted the irony that this surge is happening on Friday the 13th and that the county began shutting down at the start of the pandemic on Friday the 13 in March.
Picente says ultimately, people will wind up closing workplaces, restaurants, recreation facilities and schools before the government acts, because if there is an outbreak that place will close for at least two weeks.
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