Uptick in COVID-19 cases halts in-person court appearances in Oneida County

Local News

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — COVID-19 is still ravaging through Central New York. After months of little to no cases, an uptick is now hitting the Oneida County Correctional Facility.

All transports from the Oneida County Correctional Facility to outside courts have now been suspended for an estimated two weeks because of the number of positive COVID cases within the jail.

Sheriff Rob Maciol says 23 prisoners and at least 15 Correction Officers have tested positive.

With the uptick in cases, Maciol made the decision to start conducting court appearances virtually for a two-week period, except for scheduled trials and other emergencies that may come up.

Maciol says they were dealing with a staffing shortage before the pandemic, and with this many people out, they want to limit the spread and reallocate people where they’re needed, such as using transport officers inside the jail.

That’s additional corrections officers I can use inside the facility to fill the gap during the week here that’s been created by these people who are out sick. Also, if we have any inmates that are covid positive that may not be showing symptoms, I don’t want to bring them into an outside courtroom if I don’t have to.

Sheriff Rob Maciol

They’re now working to figure out what caused the outbreak so they can prevent it from happening again.

According to Maciol, about 60% of employees are fully vaccinated. The other 40% test weekly and he will not be enforcing a vaccine mandate.

“It [covid] either came from existing inmates that have gone out to court or court appearances or other appointments or staff whether it’s sworn staff or civilian staff that I mentioned, so we’re not quite sure how it came into the building,” Maciol said.

The outside staff he is referring to are the private contractors, including food service and medical service workers.

Maciol says they’re re-evaluating covid conditions daily to see if the two-week time frame can be shortened or if it needs to be extended.

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