Exactly two weeks out from Christmas, the latest COVID-19 reports from local health officials give little reason for holiday cheer as the virus again soars to new heights in Oneida and Herkimer counties.

In their daily reports on Friday, both counties set new highs for new cases in a single day and active cases. Oneida County reported a death on Friday for the 16th straight day, marking the 27th death of a county resident since November 25th. The county's death toll from the virus since March now stands at 168.

The number of new cases in Oneida County reported Friday was 294 - again, another record for cases in a single day, topping of the previous high of 277, set less than a week ago. Among the most recent to test positive for coronavirus is Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri.

Oneida County total residents hospitalized with COVID by day (credit: OCgov.net)

Meanwhile, the number of Oneida County residents hospitalized with the virus inched upward again on Friday to 138, setting a new high for the tenth straight day. Of those, 123 are being cared for in Oneida County hospitals, with 15 receiving care in facilities outside of the county. The total of 138 includes 17 who are in the intensive care unit, officials said.

Now resembling a staircase leading to a very bad place, the county's active case total set a new records each of the last 19 days, ending the week at 3,261.

Oneida County active COVID-19 cases by day (credit: OCgov.net)

The news out of Herkimer County wasn't much better as new all-time highs were reached, as well.

Friday's report set a new record for positive test results in a single in Herkimer County, 55, pushing the active case total to a new high of 443.

Fortunately, no deaths were reported by Herkimer County officials, however, the number of residents hospitalized with the virus climbed by three from prior day, up to 10 from 7.

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