There are more COVID patients admitted at Wynn Hospital in Utica than there have been over the last several months. As a result and with the likelihood that numbers are on the rise, hospital officials announced on Wednesday that masks will be required as of Thursday morning at 7 for all guests entering the complex. Staff will be required to wear masks in patient areas and patients, while not required to wear a mask in their room, will need to wear a mask when leaving their room.

As of Tuesday, Wynn had 35 COVID patients admitted into the hospital, along with an additional 9 patients suffering from the Flu and 7 people suffering from RSV.

"That's a significant increase in the number of patients who have COVID," said Dr. Kent Hall of MVHS. "The respiratory viruses are definitely going around. And if we look at the trends over the last three years, the hospitalizations due to COVID, over the course of the next 5 to 7 days will probably go up. Because that's what happens. Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator," said Hall.

Hall initially said on Tuesday morning, hospital staff would evaluate the latest information and would likely make a decision on a mask mandate before noon. Hall said if you look at other hospitals around the region, almost all of them are masking in one way or another.

Hall also discussed the debate over masks and whether or not they actually prevent the spread of the disease. He said first and foremost, people wearing masks are protecting those around them. He added that wearing a mask can decrease the spread of airborne droplets that spread COVID by around 70-percent. Ultimately, he said a person is better protected when wearing a mask, especially if the mask is a hospital grade N-95 surgical mask.

There are several locations in the area that offer testing for COVID, including these. Precision Laboratories at 7883 Seneca Turnpike in Clinton, just west of New Hartford, offers drive-up service where blinking your headlights signals a tech to come out with a test. Results are available within 24 hours and usually on the same day if you test before noon. Appointments are not required but for inquiries, call 315-316-0616.

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