UTICA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente during a news conference Wednesday showed obvious frustration with one adult who was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and continued to go about his normal activities, including volunteering at a youth church group, coaching youth football, and hosting a birthday party.
Picente said that one “irresponsible” adult led to 9 positive cases in the county so far, and many more quarantines.
Picente outlined for the media and a Facebook live broadcast how that one person, who did not stay home when sick or seek out medical advice, exposed many other people to the virus.
Oneida County’s efforts to alert anyone who may have been exposed also ran into a roadblock.
The infected adult is an assistant football coach at Northern Community Sports Complex, in Holland Patent. Picente said the football coach, for whom the infected adult worked, refused to provide the Oneida County Health Department with the contact information of children who may have been exposed.
Additionally, Picente said Bethel Baptist Church Youth Group where the infected adult volunteered also refused to cooperate. That’s why the county issued an alert yesterday to the media for possible public exposure.
Picente said the county is exploring its legal options and is asking anyone who may have attended those events to contact the county health department by calling 315-798-5431 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
“A case like this extends into multiple families, multiple school districts, multiple activities, multiple children. Yet it could have all been avoided if the person stayed home. If the person didn’t go on to coach football. If the person didn’t go to a church youth group,” the county executive said.
Picente praised how well the county has fought COVID-19, how it flattened the curve, and how through mask mandates, widespread testing, and social distancing it has reduced the infection rate drastically. He said he was proud of the people of Oneida County. But he added, for schools and for businesses to remain open, people need to remain vigilant to prevent the virus from spreading.
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