On what was officially Day 1 of Phase 1, Oneida County officials announced two more COVID-19 related deaths on Friday along with 16 more positive cases.

While Friday's tally represents cases and deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours, having to share the news of six deaths in the 48 hours leading up to the first step of reopening was certainly not what County Executive Anthony Picente had hoped for. In announcing the 16 new cases on Friday, Picente said one of cases announced on Thursday was taken off the list after further investigation. To date, Oneida County's coronavirus deaths stand at 29, and total lab confirmed cases is 714.

One of the fatalities announced Friday involved a patient/inmate at the Central New York Psychiatric Center. The other was not 'facility-related'. In other words, someone from the general public. Of the six deaths in the last two days, five are tied to 'facilities' - three were from nursing homes and two from the CNY Psych Center.

With warm weather on tap for the weekend, and having just begun a Phase 1 reopening on Friday, the county executive again strongly urged caution.

''We have to get to Phase 2, that's what's in front of us....Let's be smart, I understand it's been tough.'' Avoiding large gatherings along with continued mask wearing and social distancing will allow the region to eventually move to phases 3 and 4, and have an enjoyable summer, he said.

''Thank you for all you've been doing, and I want to thank you for all you will continue to do...It is working. We will get through this together,'' Picente.


New Public Exposure Incidents


The following possible public exposure incidents were shared by county Public Health Director Phyllis Ellis on Friday. Anyone who was at these locations in the specified time window should self-monitor for symptoms for two weeks from the date of the possible exposure. Ellis labeled both incidents as 'Low Risk':

  • May 8 between 4:00-4:15 p.m. at the Cliff's Local Market on Erie Blvd. in Rome. The individual was NOT wearing a mask, Ellis said. The person pumped gas and did not enter the store. While 'Low Risk', Ellis said it's an perfect example of why it is important to wash your hands or use sanitizer when in public, even if its just to stop and get gas
  • May 13 between 8:10 and 8:15 a.m. at the Dollar General in Rome. A shopper was inside the store but was wearing a mask, Ellis said.


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