Just hours from the first phase of a long-reopening plan, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente announced the largest single day COVID-19 death toll in the county to date.

Picente began Thursday's daily briefing by announcing four coronavirus related deaths in the past 24-hours. Of those, three were from area nursing homes and the fourth was an patient/inmate at the Central New York Psych Center. Addtionally, 19 more county residents have tested positive.

For Oneida County, overall COVID-19 deaths stand at 27. Total lab confirmed cases to date has grown to 699. There was also a slight uptick in the number of hospitalizations - 22 are hospitalized in MVHS facilities, 3 more at Rome Memorial and 3 hospitalized outside the county.

Picente says despite the awful news, the jump in numbers doesn't knock the Mohawk Valley off course for Friday's phase-one reopening. But it was certainlny not the numbers he wanted to share with the area preparing a subtle economic restart.

While many have spoke about the economy in terms of red light - green light, Picente said the approach right now is neither.

''The yellow light is flashing, we must proceed with caution...it's essential to moving forward.''

As to whether he is worried about in uptick in new cases with more economic openings and activity, Picente replied: ''Of course I'm concerned....Numbers are still going to rise as we go forward. I'm robably more nervous going into phase-one than I was when we started closing things. But I do know the masks work, and social distaning works.''

On a brighter note, Picente welcomed Ross Bernston of Indium Corporation to his daily call to share some hopeful news. Bernston spoke on behalf of a consortium of manufacturers who employ some 2,000 local workers. Through distancing, mask wearig and other precautions, Bernston explained there has not been one single case of COVID-19 among those workers since the outbreak began.

Businesses slated to reopen under phase one tomorrow must go to Forward.ny.gov to read state guidelines for reopening. Busiensses must fill out a form stating the have read and understand the guidelines.

New Public Exposure Incidents

Oneida County Public Health Director Phyllis Ellis announced three new possible public exposures during Thursday's briefing. In each, the risk is considered 'Low' as each of the individual involved was wearing a mask, Ellis said.

If you were present at the following locations in the noted time window, you are advised to self-monitor yourself for symptoms for two weeks from the date of the possible exposure.

  • May 5 - a shopper at the Walmart on Rome Taberg Road in Rome between 7:00-8:00 p.m.
  • May 6 - Georgio's in New Hartford. A patron who later learned they were infected picked up food to-go between 5:15-5:30 p.m.
  • May 9 - Shopper at the Topps in Rome, between 4:40-5:30 p.m.

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