News of Otsego County


Weekly Medical Briefs: 10-13-22

Weekly Medical Briefs

October 13, 2022

Weighted Blankets Promote Sleep
A weighted blanket of approximately 12 percent body weight used at bedtime prompted the release of higher concentrations of melatonin, as measured in the saliva, compared with a lighter blanket of only about 2.4% of body weight. This suggests that weighted blankets may help promote sleep in patients suffering from insomnia, according to the results from the small, in-laboratory crossover study.

Sore Throat Common in COVID
Having a sore throat is becoming a dominant symptom of COVID-19 infection, with fever and loss of smell becoming less common, according to recent reports in the U.K. The shift could be a cause of concern for the fall. As the main symptoms of the coronavirus change, people could spread the virus without realizing it. “Many people are still using the government guidelines about symptoms, which are wrong,” Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said.

—“The Independent” (U.K.)

Hey hey we’re the Monkeypox

Hey, hey — we’re the Monkeypox

Commentary by Ted Potrikus

Full disclosure: I’m finding it challenging to give any gravity to something called “monkeypox.” It sounds like a vintage video game, like “Donkey Kong,” and I half-expect the symptoms to include an uncontrollable urge for a banana. I don’t want to think about monkeys being anything that carry a nasty Pox that apparently can do some pretty ugly damage to those who contract it.

Says the Associated Press: “Monkeypox typically begins with a flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, followed by a rash on the face and body. In Africa, people have been infected through bites from rodents or small animals, and it does not usually spread easily among people.”

At least there’s that. I shouldn’t be glib about it. We’re starting to hear the vague warnings that we had better prepare ourselves for all things monkey and/or pox. Get our go-bags packed up and ready to go. The second coming of the vicious gangs of murder hornets that were supposed to descend on us two summers ago. But didn’t.

A public buffeted by COVID guidance, mandates, warnings, cautioned – however well-intentioned and however accurate – looks to be generally done with it. Otsego County has seen an increase in the number of cases of late, enough so that we’re currently in the CDC’s “high” community level designation, so the CDC recommends that we “wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status.”

A random, non-scientific walk around Cooperstown and Oneonta, though, finds that compliance with that red-level recommendation is pretty much hit-or-miss these days, a mandate-weary public

Additional Covid booster


Additional Covid Booster Available

The Otsego County Department of Health will be offering an additional booster dose (4th dose) Vaccination Clinic at the Otsego Meadows Complex on April 18, 2022.   For more information, go to

SUNY Oneonta lifting indoor mask mandate

SUNY Oneonta lifting indoor mask requirement March 26

Signaling a turning point in pandemic management on campus, SUNY Oneonta has lifted most indoor mask restrictions, effective Saturday, March 26.

Masks are welcomed and encouraged on campus but are no longer required in the majority of indoor spaces for students, employees, or visitors, including those attending meetings, events or athletic competitions, or visiting storefronts like Starbucks.

President Alberto Cardelle said a review of local and campus conditions over the past several weeks signified that most indoor mask restrictions could safely be lifted. The college purposefully waited to alter the mask guidance, and was among the last SUNY institutions to do so, to ensure careful attention and consideration was given to all circumstances and stakeholders. The college had its spring break from March 14-18 and intentionally sustained the indoor mask rule for the full week after returning.

COVID Hits Home

COVID hits home

Editor’s Note: The author, Dr. Richard Sternberg, a retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective during the COVID-19 threat. Also a village trustee, he lives in Cooperstown.

Until now, COVID did not hit too close to home for me. My cousin’s father-in-law died of it in late 2020 as did that gentleman’s sister, but nobody very close to me had.

This past week, my elder daughter came down with COVID. She said it was like a bad flu but she’s getting better now. She had been fully vaccinated and boosted. She had been working from home, but with proper masking had gone out to her gym, shopping, and visiting her mother, who is a primary care physician. I’m still anxious because I’m aware of the long-term sequela. It’s now clear that one can contract COVID multiple times despite vaccination status. Nevertheless, I’m very glad she’s fully vaccinated because with the severity of her symptoms, I hesitate to think how bad things would’ve been if she weren’t.

Queen Elizabeth has COVID. You would think that extraordinary precautions had been taken to prevent this. She is still working at the age of 95, considered super-elderly, and, I suspect, she needs help with many activities of daily living. She meets with her ministers frequently. There is a photograph of her meeting with one of her generals and one of her admirals just two days before it was announced that she was sick. They were not wearing masks.

Additionally, her son, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, both have been COVID-positive in the past 10 days. The announcement also indicated various members and staff of the royal

Editorial: Hello in there

Editorial: Hello in there

Where have all the people gone?
Seems like there’s no one hangin’ on.
Look through the windows,
The houses are empty.
Everybody’s out of town.
Seems like
I’m the only one around.
Better send some people down.
Everyone on Earth
Is out of town.

Hal David wrote that apocalyptic lyric back in 1970, Burt Bacharach added some appropriately dyspeptic music with a wobbly trombone, B.J. Thomas sang it with the right tinge of loneliness.

The song came to mind as we stood at the top of Cooperstown’s Main Street late one frigid afternoon last week. The stroll to the post office didn’t do much to counter the desolation — plenty of doors displayed some semblance of the “closed until March” sign that turns up every year around this time.

As it must. It’s our slow season, that time of year when New Yorkers become temporary Floridians, when business owners can grab some much-deserved rest in between busier times, when people can escape the cold.

Wordle. Batman. COVID.

Wordle. Batman. COVID.

By Ted Potrikus

I’m addicted to Wordle.

It’s a part of the morning routine now – pour the coffee, read the news, tell myself that I’ll wait until later to Wordle, then Wordle nonetheless.

If you’ve not heard about this nifty little online game, a warning: Do it once and you’re hooked. It’s almost too simple – it’s free, it’s not an app that you have to download, there are no ads clogging the site ( Once per day, your job is to guess a five-letter word in six tries. That’s it. It’s all the rage on various social media; The New York Times, National Public Radio, and various cable news channels have picked up on the craze. If you’ve got Twitter or Facebook friends, chances are pretty good they’ve bothered your news feed with an update on their daily result.

Mohawk Valley, Central New York hospitals still on hold for elective surgical procedures

Mohawk Valley, Central New York hospitals still on hold for elective surgical procedures

By Richard Sternberg, M.D.

The son of two former members of my religious congregation died of complications of COVID over this past weekend. He was 38 years old. Of course, his parents are devastated. He was an adamant anti-vaxxer.

Currently, in the intensive care unit at Bassett Hospital, which, by the way, is full, there is a 30-something female who has complications of COVID. I’m told that she had been vaccinated, but I don’t know her booster status or whether she was eligible.

New York ordered every hospital in the state’s Mohawk Valley, Central New York, and Finger Lakes regions to its list of “impacted facilities” to stop non-essential, non-urgent elective surgeries “due to the increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations” in those regions. That includes the whole of the Bassett Healthcare System with the exception of O’Connor Hospital in Delhi.

COVID Update January 6

COVID Update January 6

The latest information from the Otsego County Health Department shows:

671 active cases

154  new cases

6  hospitalized

0  new deaths reported

14.4 percent  seven-day average percentage positive

Otsego County and all of New York State remains under an indoor-mask mandate from Governor Kathy Hochul, with exceptions under certain conditions when proof of vaccination is required for entry to an indoor public facility. Read more about New York State’s mask requirement at this link.

KN95 masks to be distributed at Milford COVID test site

KN95 masks to be distributed at Milford COVID test site

KN95 masks will be made available (FREE) for distribution to the public, beginning tomorrow morning at the American Legion COVID test site in the Village of Milford, located at 86 West Main Street in Milford, as well as the SUNY Oneonta COVID test site, located at 26 SW Dorm Drive, Oneonta. An additional distribution site is being established at the Richfield Springs Fire Department in the coming week. Details will be made available as soon as dates and times have been confirmed.

Editorial: Omicron’s Paradox

Omicron’s Paradox

A COVID-weary public confronts the conundrum daily: Is this good news? Is it bad news?

We have to admit that we’re a little bit confused.

The Omicron caseload is frightening on its surface — ridiculously high numbers on a daily basis, top-of-the-fold newspaper coverage, lead-story status.

We’re so attuned to scary numbers and frightening graphs that when we hear about record-shattering daily positive tests coming back, the first thing we want to do is retreat to our quarantine corners and hide. We worry that we’re all going to become experts in the Greek alphabet before this is finished.
But then we look past the raw data and hear the experts say that with Omicron, it’s important to take a more analytical approach. Governor Kathy Hochul, on Monday, said, “People are testing at a much higher rate. It’s shocking in the scale of the number of people who are testing positive, but we’re grateful cases are not presenting themselves as severely as they did with Delta.” She cited encouraging news out of South Africa, where Omicron first was detected — a sharp jolt in positives followed by an equally sharp decline. “We have so many more defenses this time,” she said.

Governor “Winter Surge 2.0” briefing includes mask mandate extension, school opening plans

Governor “Winter Surge 2.0” briefing includes mask mandate extension, school opening plans

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced she will extend her indoor mask mandate by two weeks, keeping it in place across New York through January 29, 2022 rather than its original January 15 expiration.“This is all geared toward keeping the economy open,” she said during her New Year’s Eve “Winter Surge 2.0” press briefing. “The alternative is to shut it all down.”“The reason that we don’t have to do this is that we now have the defenses in place – testing, vaccines, boosters, masks – that we didn’t have in March 2020,” she said. “We can take steps to make sure we’re protected against Omicron.”

Greetings, Friends (with apologies to The New Yorker)

Greetings, Friends (with apologies to The New Yorker)

Greetings, Friends! The time is nigh
To bid this Covid Year good-bye.
We’ve had enough, we’ve played our parts
Stayed home alone filling Amazon carts.
And cleaning our closets and working online
Making do with our WiFi that’s not always fine.

We’ve said goodbye to some friends, to some relatives too
Our families we’ve not seen, travel’s been so taboo.
Goodbye ’21, au revoir, off you go 
Adios and kwaheri, arrivederci, adjo. 
Go away ’21! But wait! Not before
TFJ has its way with some thank-yous galore.

New York opens COVID-19 testing facility in Milford after Otsego County officials cite need for access

New York opens COVID-19 testing facility in Milford
after Otsego County officials cite need for access

New York Governor Kathy Hochul responded this week to a request from Otsego County officials and will locate a new, state-run COVID-19 testing site in Milford.

The new site — one of only 13 throughout the state — opens Wednesday, December 29 at the American Legion Post at 86 West Main Street; its hours of operation are as follows: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.

Milford will offer RT-PCR testing upon its launch, with plans to add rapid antigen and rapid PCR tests within a few days of Wednesday’s opening.

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