Oneida County saw its fourth fatality to the COVID-19 virus, according to County Executive Anthony Picente on Tuesday. No details were announced regarding the victim's identity, address or demographics, as is customary in Oneida County. There were 13 new cases confirmed in the last 24-hours, according to Picente.

"While there are reports that the worst is over, that is not the case here," said Picente. "Our cases continue to rise.  We need to continue to be steadfast in our social distancing and continue to stay home when we can. Go out only for necessary items," he added.

Picente also confirmed that Governor Cuomo's executive order mandating that all essential employees that deal with the public, wear masks. That order goes into effect at midnight tonight.

Nursing Homes and Health Care Facilities

Picente was asked about potential cases rumored at nursing homes, assisted living properties and health care facilities. He said that their reasoning for not announcing those cases is because they follow privacy and HIPAA restrictions. Health Department Director Phyllis Ellis said they only report on facilities that are open to the public. WIBX has received reports from family members of residents in nursing homes that they were notified of cases that have tested positive. Additionally, positive cases at local healthcare facilities have also been reported to WIBX, but have not been confirmed by the facility or the Health Department. Ellis did confirm that there are healthcare workers who live in the county who have tested positive for COVID-19, but not additional information could be released. Previously, an employee at the Masonic Care Community in Utica, and multiple residents at The Grand assisted living facility in Rome have tested COVID positive. Additionally at the end of March, a physician at Slocum Dickson tested positive for COVID-19, and later recovered.

Picente also urged residents to remain diligent in following social distancing/gathering recommendations and confirmed that four bars/restaurants and two retail establishments in the county have been issued warnings for violating those restrictions. The establishments, which have not been identified, could face fines of up to $1000 for persistent violations, in accordance with New York State law. To date, no county businesses have been issued a fine, according to Sheriff Rob Maciol. Maciol also confirmed that the rules are being enforced on properties that are regulated by the New York State Liquor Authority and the Oneida County Health Department.

As coronavirus restrictions enter a second 30-day period, Oneida County now has 224 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Picente said that while the numbers seem to have hit an APEX in New York City and other areas, Oneida County and Upstate New York are lagging behind and new cases here continue to rise. "Our hospitalization numbers are pretty stable which is good news," he said.  In regards to re-opening businesses and schools, Picente was cautious. "Until we see some distinct leveling off, it's hard to put a date on" lifting some of the social distancing and closure restrictions, he said.

COVID-19 By The Numbers

Fatalities: 4

There were 11 positive cases on Monday and not 12 (one of those cases announced yesterday belonged to another county)

224 total (13 new cases)

24 hospitalized in Oneida County, 9 outside.  Total- 33

167 positive cases

Resolved: 53

Total negative- 1135

Total tested to date: 1526

Total test results pending:  167

Mandatory Quarantine: 391

Precautionary Quarantine: 453

Total discharged: 1579

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