News of Otsego County


In-Patient Visitation Suspended Across Bassett Healthcare Network

In-Patient Visitation Suspended
Across Bassett Healthcare Network

Bassett Healthcare Network temporarily suspends visitation to inpatient units across all of its hospitals beginning January 19, 2021.

Network officials say the community virus spread around Central New York remains high with the “extremely contagious Omicron variant,” leading to measures to protect the safety and health of its patients and staff. Bassett said its hospitals will consider extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis, including for end-of-life patients or those who are cognitively impaired.

Bassett’s emergency departments continue to suspend visitation. Where visitation still occurs – such as long-term care facilities and outpatient clinics – the Network applies special testing processes or other restrictions. Visit for those details.

Officials plan to reassess community virus trends “after January” and determine whether it is safe to restore visitation.

The January 18 announcement affects the following locations: A.O. Fox in Oneonta, Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, Cobleskill Regional Hospital, Little Falls Hospital, and O’Connor Hospital in Delhi.

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.

Life during COVID: December in Otsego

Life during COVID: December in Otsego

By Richard Sternberg M.D.

Checking the Otsego County Department of Health dashboard on December 20 showed a distinct uptick in a number of cases of COVID in recent days. Most of these still are probably from Delta, but also are beginning to reflect the Omicron variant. The website did not identify the specific variant of those cases.

Dr. Fauci says the number of cases of the Omicron across the United States doubles every two to three days. That in itself is very disturbing. The good news is that those who have been fully vaccinated and, where indicated, have received booster shots, generally show mild symptoms. The number of patients in intensive care units over the total number of people who tested positive shows a decline from those of a year ago. Additionally, the Paxlovid antiviral medication, when available and when properly indicated, seems to decrease the risk of serious complications by up to 90 percent.

Editorial: Omicron, is it?

Omicron, is it?

It sounds a lot like something out of Hollywood — one of those action/sci-fi movies that demand we suspend our disbelief more than usual and go along for the ride in a world where it can’t happen here.

The problem, of course, is that it can. And it is.

We had barely dried the Thanksgiving dinner dishes when word came out of the World Health Organization that it was meeting in emergency session over a newly discovered Covid-19 variant, this one seemingly originating out of South Africa. Stock markets plunged on Black Friday. President Biden and other world leaders clamped down on international travel from the nations most immediately affected. Governor Kathy Hochul wasted no time declaring a state of emergency across New York to last through January 15, 2022.

Omicron…New York in a State of Emergency

Omicron…New York in a State of Emergency

Saturday, November 27, 2021. 1:00 PM

Yesterday morning we had not heard of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529. The New York Times did not mention it and The Economist had no information in their morning news feed. It was then one of many variants of the virus that causes COVID. Then the World Health Organization named it Omicron. WHO reserves Greek letter names for variants of particular concern. Omicron is one of them.

The global stock markets plunged with U.S. major indices losing more than 2% in a half day of trading. Lockouts have been instituted and announced. Governor Hochul has declared a state of emergency. Doctor Fauci is making the rounds of all the major media news organizations. How severe Omicron will be and whether the current vaccines will be effective, and if so, to what extent is unknown.

Below is a compilation of what is known and unknown as of the time this article is being written. Most of it is open to revision.

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