There are four more positive COVID-19 cases in Oneida County, according to County Executive Anthony Picente, who spoke to the media during his daily coronavirus briefing on Saturday. Picente, who confirmed Oneida County now has 28 confirmed cases, was accompanied by Oneida County Director of Health, Phyllis Ellis.

Picente said there are now a total of five Oneida County residents that have been hospitalized locally. Four of those patients are at MVHS hospitals and one is now being treated at Rome Memorial Hospital. It was announced on Friday that New Hartford Assemblyman Brian Miller was hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms at an MVHS hospital. Ellis did not reveal the condition of Miller or any of the other patients, but did say each of their conditions vary.  "Some are in intensive care, some are not, some are on ventilators and some are not," said Ellis. She said that under the current conditions, our local hospitals have enough ventilators (about 50 at MVHS) to care for patients.

There are now more than 52,000 positive coronavirus cases in New York State, significantly higher than any other U.S. state. Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday that the Apex of the pandemic is still 14 to 21 days away.

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Questions and Answers from Saturday's Press Briefing

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Some Reports Claim Getting the Virus and then Recovering Might Not Make You Immune 

Ellis also spoke about a report that has surfaced recently that describes some Chinese patients who tested positive for the virus and then recovered, only to relapse some time later and become positive again. "We haven't seen any patients that have improved and recovered and then had additional symptoms after," she said. "All that research is currently happening.  We haven't seen anyone improve, be better and then become symptomatic again." she said.

Masonic Care Community Employee Tests Positive

Picente confirmed that a staff member at Masonic Care did test positive for COVID-19 yesterday; however, the person resides in Herkimer County, so it wouldn't show up under Oneida County's numbers. The Masonic Care facility, which is located in Oneida County, is working with the health department. "We are monitoring the situation at Masonic Care," Ellis said. "We are working with them."

Masonic Care Community is among other services, a senior care facility. They issued the following statement on their website:

In response to a positive COVID-19 test for an MCC employee, all MCC residents, resident’ families, and MCC staff have been notified that may have been affected by this situation. We will continue to share information as it becomes available. We believe transparency is important in our efforts to minimize rumors and inaccurate information. Our communication process is to first notify staff and resident families that may be directly affected by any positive COVID-19 tests. We will then communicate information to the larger community as a whole including all MCC employees, residents and residents families.

 

This Clorox Wipe Issue Is Not About a Shortage 

Picente said that because of the effort to keep surfaces clean by using products like Clorox Wipes, an unforeseen negative effect is occurring: It's clogging up the water filtration system.  Don't flush Clorox Wipes, "throw them out, put them in the garbage, put them in the trash," Picente said. Some body wipes are approved as flushable, but almost all household cleaning sanitizing wipes are not rated for the sewer system.

Are Downstate COVID-Positive Patients Being Transferred Here?

"We have not been notified of any patients that are bing transported at this time." Ellis said. 

Picente on Governor Cuomo Updates

The Presidential Primary has been moved from April 28th to June 23rd, and Tax Day for New York State Taxes has been changed to July 15th, the same as the Federal Tax Day.

What Does Picente Think About President Trump's Talk of a New York Quarantine?

"The President talking about quarantine seemed to be more about New York City. It's very hard to enforce and very hard to engage. I'm not too sure what the president had in mind," Picente said. "New York was under a brief "no travel" quarantine during 911, he added. "It's a lot easier said than done," he added.

Some Picente Reminders for the Weekend

-Don't call 911 without an emergency.  

-Testing is still being done for those patients that still have the conditions that warrant one,  starting with the hospital patients.

-Support local businesses if you can. Please support them the best you can during this crisis. We want to keep the economy going and keep as many people working as we can.  

 

-"Do not congregate, Stay at home, stop the spread."

-The county recently set up a Mental Health Hotline which was made active on Friday morning. It's a free service available for people to speak one-on-one with mental health professionals by calling 1-800-678-0888. The service is available from 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. each Monday through Friday.

-Picente continued to remind people to remain vigilant when it comes to social distance. He asked people to avoid crowds, refrain from hosting house guests and to continue practicing proper hygiene. He reminded people that if they witness an employer or business not following the Governor's zero percent workforce order, they can file a report with the New York State Attorney General's office at 212-416-8700. There's also a web link to the Labor Department on the county's website.

-Picente has also asked residents to turn on their porch light during nighttime hours to signify support for first responders and health care workers throughout the county.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus Numbers as of 3 p.m. March 28, 2020

DESCRIPTIONITEM
Tested Positive, Hospitalized at MVHS (Oneida County residents) (1 at Rome Memorial)5
New Cases in Last 24-hours4
Total Confirmed Positive28
Confirmed Negative276
Total tested506
Mandatory. Quarantine230
Precautionary Quarantine204
Total people discharged from Quarantine427

Pending test results as of Saturday:  Over 230

As of Thursday, 19 people are hospitalized at MVHS and awaiting coronavirus test results.

Test results are now taking from a couple of days to a few days to return, according to Phyllis Ellis, Oneida County Director of Health.