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News of Otsego County

coronavirus

Opinion by Richard Sternberg, M.D.: A return to normalcy after COVID?

Opinion by Richard Sternberg, M.D.
A return to normalcy after COVID?

It appears the summer surge of COVID-19 in the United States is abating.

Numbers are going down except in the hardest hit states. The average number of deaths last week was approximately 1,800 per day and the number of daily infections is about 100,000. These seem to be trending down but if they flare up again and represent averages over the long-term we are talking about 675,000 deaths per year. By comparison, in the United States, the flu kills somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 people a year. If the flu pandemic of 1918 is any guideline, we should expect further surges with the number and severity of the surges dying out eventually.

Opinion by Richard Sternberg M.D.: Maybe God wants people to be vaccinated

Opinion by Richard Sternberg M.D.
Maybe God wants people to be vaccinated

During Hurricane Katrina more than 1,800 people died primarily from flooding caused by the hurricane and by the levees breaking in New Orleans. Many of those who died lived in the city’s ninth ward.

Initially a mandatory evacuation order was sent out but many people ignored it and stayed in their homes. A man, who we will call John and who was very religious, was at home. As the water started to rise, the police started going door-to-door telling people to evacuate. John said to the police, “I’ll be fine because the Lord will protect me.”

The waters continued to rise. They became too high for regular vehicles. The fire department came by on its trucks urging people to evacuate. They offered to take them out of the area. When they got to John though, he said “I’ll be fine because the Lord will protect me.”

Letter by Jennifer Hill: Don’t send prayers, just get vaccinated

Letter by Jennifer Hill
Don’t send prayers, just get vaccinated

Almost three weeks ago, my 84 year-old father and 83 year-old mother tested positive for COVID-19. They were breakthrough cases. My mother had no symptoms, but my father, who has asthma and an irregular heartbeat, had shortness of breath, chest congestion and light-headedness. He was given powerful flu medicine to alleviate his symptoms and because of his chronic medical conditions and his age, he received a monoclonal antibody infusion, a cocktail of manmade proteins designed to boost a person’s immune system to fight off viruses. Both made him feel much better and he felt he had recovered several days later.

Protesters against vaccine mandate march to A.O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta
Anti-vaccine protesters leaving Neahwa Park in Oneonta on Friday, Sept. 17. (Kevin Limit/AllOtsego).

Protesters against vaccine mandate march to A.O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA — Hundreds of protesters, along with Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, marched to A.O. Fox Hospital and through Main Street Friday, Sept. 17, to protest the vaccine mandate put in place for healthcare workers.

The protesters chanted slogans such as “stop the mandate” as they walked through downtown Oneonta towards the hospital. There were signs that said “unmask our children” and “protect our liberties.”

The vaccine mandate from Bassett Healthcare was in response to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mandate that all healthcare workers should be vaccinated.

Prior to the march, the protesters rallied at Damaschke Field.

“I’m here to support the medical professionals and support their right to not have an injection they’re not confident,” Salka told AllOtsego.com. “Last year they were heroes, this year they’re zeroes.”

Bassett Healthcare has Sept. 27 deadline for employees to be vaccinated

Bassett Healthcare has Sept. 27,
deadline for employees to be vaccinated

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN — In response to the state government mandating vaccinations for all healthcare workers, Bassett Healthcare has given its employees a deadline of Monday, Sept. 27, in order to have the first dose of the vaccine.

The mandate does not offer room for religious exemption but it does allow medical exemptions.

An internal email, penned by Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, CEO of Bassett Healthcare, said if employees are not vaccinated by Sept. 27, “you will no longer meet the regulatory requirements to be employed by Bassett Healthcare Network.”

High School Sports by Nate Lull: Now more than ever, September holds a year’s worth of promises

High School Sports by Nate Lull
Now more than ever, September holds a year’s worth of promises

The last 18 months have been hard for all of us, but it has been especially difficult for high school athletes. The coronavirus pandemic ended playing careers early, dashed championship dreams and changed local record books forever. However, as this fall season begins, it feels like maybe we are getting a fresh start.

Sure, we know it could all come to a crashing halt at any moment, but with the return of certain rituals like the first day of practice and getting in shape for pre-season, we can only hope that this fall will bring back a bit of normalcy.

With the new season now upon us, here are a few things I am looking forward to:

• While some Otsego County fall teams didn’t get to play last school year, one of the teams that did was the Schenevus girls soccer team. With an undefeated spring season under its belt, this team will be the one to watch. Led by junior scoring phenom Angelina Competiello, the Dragons appear to be one of the favorites in the Tri-Valley League and in Section IV, Class D. Competiello has 81 career goals and is already the all-time leading goal scorer in school history with two seasons left to play. She is surrounded by a very solid supporting cast, including Taylor Knapp and Lily Competiello, who are two of the best-kept secrets. If you are looking to watch small school soccer of the highest quality, make sure you make the trip to Schenevus.

• Staying on the theme of must-see soccer, I am also excited to check out the Oneonta boys and the Cooperstown boys teams. Oneonta lost a lot of talent to graduation, but they return with one of the best goal scorers in Finlay Oliver. There is no doubt that Oliver is ready to put on a show for local fans. His work with high level off-season travel ball should propel him to be arguably the best player in the area.
On the flip side, the word out of Cooperstown is the Hawkeyes will have one of the most balanced teams in recent memory. A group that has been coming up together since grade school, CCS could be ready to make Coop a soccer town for a few months this fall.

• Another team I want to watch as the leaves turn is the Unatego girls soccer squad. The Spartans are a team that made the Class C state final in 2019 and are led by legendary local coach, Sue Herodes. Have they graduated a lot of talent? Yes. But can the Spartans reload? They have done it so many times in the past and I think they can do it again. As Delhi Coach Matt Albright recently told me, “the road to the MAC championship game always goes through Unatego.” I couldn’t agree more. With key players like Alexa Lucia, Kylie Mussaw and Anabel Rommer back, I wouldn’t count out UCS just yet.

So, as our local athletes prepare to get back to competition, make sure you get out and cheer them on. Nothing goes faster than the career of a high school athlete. As many kids have said to me over the years, “you think you have all this time then you blink and it is all over.” That is true now more than ever. These student athletes never know when their seasons might get cut short again, but for now it seems like our old rituals are back and we can focus on the promise of the season ahead.

Nate Lull is the sports director for WCDO in Sidney.

Midweek Induction brings questions about attendance, coronavirus safety

Midweek Induction brings questions about
attendance, coronavirus safety

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

In the lull of the 2013 Hall of Fame Induction, when no living people were inducted and only about 2,000 die-hard fans attended on a rainy day, and some people speculated about the demise of the tradition, keen baseball observers knew the Yankees would be coming to Cooperstown eventually.
When large class after large class started popping big attendance figures for inductions the latter half of the last decade — topping out at 53,000 for Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Alan Trammell, Jim Thome and Jack Morris in 2018 — keen baseball observers whispered, “just wait and see what the Yankee years bring.”

Otsego County back to over 100 active COVID cases

Otsego County tops 100
active COVID cases

Staff Report • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

As of Tuesday, Aug. 31, active COVID cases in Otsego County have reached 121 with five hospitalizations, according to the Otsego County Department of Health.

The county’s DOH reported 22 new cases Tuesday, which brought Otsego County over 100.

The DOH continued to encourage people who have not gotten the vaccine yet to do so as it reduces risk of hospitalization and death.

 

 

Opinion by Richard Sternberg M.D.: Taking chances with other people’s lives is evil

Opinion by Richard Sternberg M.D.
Taking chances with
other people’s lives is evil

 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Man walks into a bar talking to the other people at the bar. He has a few drinks, gets somewhat inebriated and then announces “Oh, by the way, I have COVID-19. What are you gonna do about it?”

Several days later everybody who was at the bar tests positive for coronavirus and they start to have secondary positives in their families and among their friends.

Right now, this is a rumor, for which I have no hard evidence. The story changes about where and how the man got infected and where he went to drink to spread it. Perhaps it’s apocryphal. I’m not sure if I heard it second-hand, third-hand or fourth-hand, and I’m not going to speculate on whether it’s true or not and what businesses may be affected.

This is what many of our nightmares have been about and why some of us wanted all the restrictions we’ve tried to have in our community. It’s bad enough when somebody who legitimately thinks they are not at risk to spread the disease spreads it, either because they’re vaccinated and don’t realize they can still get it or they’ve taken all reasonable precautions such as masking. However, when somebody arrogantly exposes other people to a disease, this is a disaster, especially since that person is probably not just exposing the three people in the store but other people in the community. Then those people are exposing others, and so on. I wouldn’t be surprised if an incident like this ended up causing at least one significant disability or death. Maybe a child will get it and end up with long-time syndrome. Maybe somebody will bring it home to an elderly relative and they will have severe respiratory problems and die. This is no longer theoretical if the information I received is true; and it is a real possibility.

Being the liberal that people purport me to be, I should be understanding and realize this is a confused person who drinks to excess and doesn’t understand the consequences of his actions. Actually being somebody who is pretty much dead center politically and sometimes swayed by conservative
arguments (especially when it comes to spending issues), I find myself not really wanting to give this person any benefit of the doubt.

If this deed was done intentionally to prove a point, I feel hanging a man by his thumbs is a reasonable punishment. If anybody gets very sick, disabled or dies, he should be hanged by his cajones. I really have completely run out of patience with people who casually put other people at risk or expect healthcare professionals to bail them out if they happen to get sick.

At one hospital, the medical staff, including the nurses and the middle of all providers, basically held a mock strike. Yes, of course people were left behind to take care of the sick patients, but they made the point and it was shown on national television.

Let’s not let that happen here.

Get with the program people, get vaccinated. Wear your mask. If you don’t … stay home.

One death reported in Otsego County due to COVID

One death reported in Otsego County due to COVID

Staff Report • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

According to the Otsego County Department of Health, one person has passed away due to COVID on Saturday, Aug. 21.

There have been 83 active cases with 14 hospitalizations and 14 new cases as of Monday, Aug. 23.

The Otsego County Department of Health said they will be releasing a comprehensive press release sometime later this week and has in the past encouraged those who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated as it is able to prevent hospitalization and death.

 

James Seward: My concerns grow about COVID’s return

My concerns grow about COVID’s return

I love Otsego County. My love for our area was the foundation of my 34 year service as State Senator. That certainly didn’t change with my retirement in January. If anything, living here without duties in Albany has only solidified my connection to my neighbors and friends.

As COVID-19 continues on, that love fills me with urgent concern.

As you may remember, COVID-19 is a very personal issue for me. My wife, Cindy, and I first tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus in late March of 2020 We were concerned, but also relieved to be diagnosed with “mild” cases. I expected a short hospital stay followed by a quiet quarantine.

That plan was interrupted. Within a week, I was on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma in the ICU. I have no memory of that period of four days in the midst of my infection. But I have vivid memories of the weeks that followed. I struggled through a slow, painful and exhausting recovery process, while Cindy, along with our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, bore the weight of concern for my condition.

Pop up vaccine clinic at Schenevus Central School will offer chance for Brooks BBQ gift card

Pop up vaccine clinic at Schenevus Central School will offer chance for Brooks BBQ gift card

The Otsego County Department of Health will be hosting a pop up vaccine clinic at Schenevus Central School with all who get the vaccine being entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Brooks BBQ.

According to statistics from the Otsego County Department of heath, 56% of Otsego County residents have at least one dose of the vaccine with still lags behind the rest of New York State at 62.2%.

“We are happy to partner with Schenevus Central School to offer this vaccine opportunity.  We encourage people to make an appointment with us to get vaccinated, and help keep our county safe as we prepare to return for the school year,” Alex Scorzafava, Public Health Preparedness Coordinator at the Otsego County Department of Health, said in a media release. “Please visit the Otsego County Department of Health website to register for this clinic and to remain aware of future vaccine opportunities in our area.”

The Department of Health has also hosted vaccine clinics at the Otsego County Fair and the Hartwick Tractor Pull.

 

COVID update and tractor pull vaccination pop up vaccination clinic

COVID update and tractor pull pop up vaccination clinic

Staff Report • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

As of Friday, Aug. 13, there are 87 active cases with 14 reported today and four hospitalizations.

Otsego County is now in a state of high community transmission.

There will be a walk-up vaccination clinic at the Hartwick Fire Department tractor pull at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15.

The Otsego County Department of Health encourages those who haven’t already gotten vaccinated to do so.

According to their figures, 76% of COVID cases in Otsego County have come from individuals with no vaccinations while 24% have been vaccinated.  100% of hospitalizations were from individuals who were unvaccinated with 60% being under the age of 64. In addition, 20%  of cases were below the age of 18.

RUDY: State should mndate vaccinations for its employees

LETTER from JOHN A. RUDY

State should mandate
vaccinations for its employees

The unions representing New York state troopers and public school teachers oppose a mandatory vaccination requirement for their members. At the same time, more and more private employers are requiring vaccination by their employees as a condition of continued employment.

Conservatives regularly argue that government should emulate the private sector in its employment practices. A vaccination mandate is a good place to start.

For those state troopers and teachers who choose not to be vaccinated and thereby to ignore the risk they pose to us taxpayers and children with whom they come in contact, I suggest that they have at least two other choices:

1) find another line of work;

2) move to Florida or Texas.

John A. Rudy
Cooperstown

City of Oneonta requiring masks in all city buildings

City of Oneonta requiring masks in all city buildings

Staff Report • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Effective Tuesday, Aug. 10, all city buildings will require masks due to the CDC’s recommendations on the spread of the delta variant.

Otsego County is considered an area with high transmission, and therefore the CDC recommends wearing masks while indoors.

“While we are all weary of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, wearing a mask at work and arounds friends and family helps to prevent the most vulnerable of them from being infected and helps stop the pandemic,” said a press release issued by the City of Oneonta. “The safest and most effective way to put the COVID virus and these restrictions behind us is to reduce the current pool of unvaccinated persons in this country. I urge all eligible persons who have not yet become vaccinated to do so now.”

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