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News of Otsego County

Heidi Bond

Heidi Bond Named Citizen Of The Year

PICK UP OTSEGO COUNTY YEARBOOK

Heidi Bond Named

Citizen Of The Year

Heidi Bond, who led Otsego County’s fight against COVID-19, has been named Citizen of the Year by Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and www.AllOTSEGO.com. Get the full story in either newspaper, which are being delivered now and will be available on newsstands throughout Otsego County by the end of the afternoon.
New COVID Death Tied To Copper Fox
Victim Wasn’t At Bar; ‘Secondary Infection’ Cited

New COVID Death

Tied To Copper Fox

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – A man who caught COVID-19 from someone who tested positive following the outbreak at the Copper Fox in Oneonta has died after a month in the hospital, according to Heidi Bond, Otsego County Public Health Director.

“This person didn’t go to the bar, but they contracted the disease through secondary spread from someone who did,” she said.

COVID Shutters Mel’s, Otesaga Until New Year

COVID Shutters Mel’s,

Hawkeye Into New Year

COOPERSTOWN – With Heidi Bond, Otsego County Public Health Director, citing “at least one case”  of COVID-19 each among staff members at Mel’s at 22 and the Hawkeye Grill at The Otesaga, both restaurants have temporarily shut their doors to diners.

“Until recently, we have been very fortunate that our Mel’s at 22 community has not been affected by COVID 19,” wrote Brian Wrubleski, owner of Mel’s, in a Facebook posting on Christmas Eve. “Last week one of our servers tested positive. In accordance with the best practices from the department of health, we have decided to remain closed until the new year. This will give us time to make sure that all of our team members are safe and healthy before returning to serving you.”

Four Deaths Reported In One Day Marks New High For County

4 COVID Deaths

Mark New Record

For Otsego County

By CHRYSTAL SAVAGE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Four new COVID-19 deaths were reported today, marking the highest single-day reported total yet, according to Heidi Bond, Otsego County Public Health Director.

“They have all been sick for a while and were all hospitalized,” Bond said. Two were male and two were female, all over age 55.

There have been 16 deaths in the county since the first cases were reported in March, but with seven of the deaths in December, Bond warns that this pattern is trending in a worse direction than before, attributing the month’s increase in cases to travel for Thanksgiving.

Over Holidays, 50 COVID Cases Reported

Bond: Over Holidays,

50 COVID Cases Emerge

COOPERSTOWN – With 21 cases of COVID on Christmas Eve and 29 over Christmas and today, 50 cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Otsego County Health Department this evening.

There are 114 active cases, with 14 hospitalizations. Earlier in the week, Bond expressed concerned that  holiday travel will produce a sharp uptick in cases within the next two weeks, similar to what the county experienced after Thanksgiving.

December Deadliest Month, Bond Says

December Deadliest

Month, Bond Says

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

With three deaths in two weeks, four people in the ICU and 16 hospitalized, Otsego County Public Health Director Heidi Bond has declared December to be the deadliest month of the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

“Three deaths in a month is the most we’ve had,” she said. “Before that, it was two in April.”

The victim, a woman over 55, had not been in the ICU, but had been hospitalized for less than week before she died on Friday, Dec. 18.

Last week, two other women died, including one who had been infected with the virus by an employee at the assisted living facility where she lived. The employee, Bond reported at the time, had spent Thanksgiving with a group of people outside their home, and was infected there.

This week’s seven-day total saw 141 cases, a slight decrease from last week’s total of 153. But Friday, Dec. 18, saw a second day of 35 cases, the current record for number of cases in a single day.

And with Christmas looming, Bond worries that the cases will climb even higher as people continue to gather against CDC recommendations.

“We’re starting with a higher number of cases than we did at Thanksgiving,” she said.

Second COVID Death Reported From Adult Home Outbreak
With 4 Deaths, December Deadliest Month

2nd COVID Death

Reported From

Adult Home Cluster

COOPERSTOWN – A second woman has died from COVID-19 after she was exposed at the adult home where she was residing, according to Heidi Bond, Otsego County Public Health Director.

Her death comes just one week after the first death from the reported adult home outbreak, which started when an employee came to work after being exposed to the virus during a Thanksgiving gathering.

11th COVID Death Reported, Third This Month

11th COVID Death

Marks 3rd In Month

COOPERSTOWN – A third woman has died of COVID-19 this month, Heidi Bond, Otsego County Public Health Director, reported this evening.

This marks the 11th death in the county since the pandemic began in March. Bond reports that the victim, a woman over 55, had not been intubated, but had been hospitalized for “less than a week” when she succumbed to her illness.

Daily COVID Dashboard Moved Online
35 Cases Today, 16 Hospitalized

Bond: Daily COVID-19

Dashboard Moves Online

COOPERSTOWN –  The Otsego County Department of Health will begin posting their daily COVID-19 totals on their website, doing away with the daily press releases, according to Heidi Bond, Otsego County Public Health Director.

The website will also include a graphic, charting the daily totals for the last 60 days. Press releases will be sent out to report deaths or clusters where people may need to isolate following an exposure in a public space.

35 cases were reported today – matching the county’s record high on Dec. 9 – with 16 hospitalizations.

With 10th Death, County ‘Overwhelmed,’ Bond Says

With 10th Death, County

‘Overwhelmed,’ Bond Says

County Staffing Increased As Deaths, COVID Infections Keep Growing

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Help is on the way after county Public Health Director Heidi Bond lamented that her department is “overwhelmed.”

“We’re barely keeping up with the cases coming in,” she said. “With contact tracing, that means you might not get a call if you’ve been identified as a close personal contact in a timely manner.”

On Monday, Dec. 14, the county Board of Representatives voted unanimously on a resolution from the floor presented by county Rep. Michele Farwell, D-Morris, to approve three LPNs or three health workers, or a combination of the two, to ensure Bond has the resources she needs to continue combating COVID.

With Bond and five nurses working nights and weekends, she hopes to expand the staff to eight to assist in interviewing positive cases and providing additional contact tracing.

“It’s definitely a relief,” she said. “All of us have been working six days a week.”

As of Tuesday, Dec. 15,there were 153 cases reported over last seven days, with 16 hospitalizations and two deaths, 10 deaths total.

Both of the deceased were women over 55, including one elderly woman who caught the virus from an employee at her assisted living facility after the employee was exposed at a private Thanksgiving gathering.

But with the lack of contact tracers, Bond said it could be days before her staff can reach those who may have been exposed to let them know they need to quarantine.

Bond defined “close contacts” as a person, including household residents, co-workers or friends, that the positive case spent more than 15 minutes with, either masked or unmasked.

“Normally we want to contact those people within 24 hours to let them know they should quarantine,” she said. “Now we’re asking people if they know they’re positive, that they take personal responsibility and notify their contacts, as well as tell us those names.”

And that personal responsibility extends to those notified, she said, who need to quarantine at home for 14 days. “That means no going out to the store, no going into work, no seeing friends,” she said. “You just stay home and wait.”

Bond said that if not contacted by the Health Department within five days of quarantine, to reach out in order to get the paperwork needed to approve time off work through the CARES Act.

COVID Claims 9th Victim As Case Numbers Continue To Climb

9th Victim Succumbs

To COVID-19 Virus

COOPERSTOWN – A woman who became sick with COVID-19 at the end of November died of the virus over the weekend, marking the ninth such death in the county, Heidi Bond, Otsego County Public Health director, reported this evening.

Bond said the victim was over 55, putting her in the most vulnerable category. The last death reported in the county was at the end of October.

All Aboard, Reps OKs Hiring Of 3 For COVID Fight

BOND GETS FLEXIBILITY

All Aboard, Reps

Okay Hiring Of 3

For COVID Fight

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Michelle Farwell
Heidi Bond

COOPERSTOWN – The county Board of Representatives voted unanimously today to give Public Health Director Heidi Bond the resources she may need.

Acting on a resolution from the floor presented by county Rep. Michele Farwell, D-Morris, the board approved three LPNs or three health workers, or a combination of the two, to ensure Bond has the resources she needs to continue combatting COVID.

At the board’s Health & Education Committee last week, Bond reported her county Department of Health staff is “working overtime and weekends,” adding “I haven’t worked out what staff would be most beneficial.”

With 48 New COVID Cases, Health Department ‘Overwhelmed’

With 48 New COVID Cases,

Health Dept. ‘Overwhelmed’

COOPERSTOWN – With 27 cases of COVID-19 reported Saturday and 21 this afternoon, Public Health Director Heidi Bond is warning that the contact tracers are “overwhelmed.”

Contact tracers will still contact those who have been identified as positive, but calls to those who were in direct contact with people who tested positive may be delayed because of the high volume of calls to be made.

25 Positive COVID Tests, Library Staff In Quarantine
Library Staff in Quarantine After Co-Worker Tests Positive

Hospitalizations At 18

As 25 More Test Positive

COOPERSTOWN – 25 more county residents have tested positive for COVID-19, with 18 people now hospitalized as COVID numbers show no signs of slowing down, Heidi Bond, county public health director, reported this morning.

869 in quarantine, Bond reported, with the total number of active cases at 158. Of the 18 in the hospital, four people remain in the ICU.

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