News of Otsego County

Otsego County

January 4 COVID Update

January 4 COVID Update

The latest information from the Otsego County Health Department shows:

482  active cases

137  new cases

7  hospitalized

0  new deaths reported

12.8 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.

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.

Community Foundation taps former mayor as new exec director

Community Foundation taps
former mayor as new exec director

Former Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz returns to a life of serving his community when he takes the helm as the first executive director of the Community Foundation of Otsego County at the start of the new year.

“This is thrilling and an honor to have been chosen,” Mr. Katz told The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta. “I’m looking forward to the engagement and the change to get out and see people throughout Otsego County.”

The Foundation (CFOC) awarded more than $250,000 to Otsego County non-profits in 2020-21, focused initially on helping organizations operate safely through Covid-19. In 2021, CFOC opened its award programs to fulfill its broader mission to help innovative non-profits develop and expand capabilities. CFOC also this year completed a $2 million donor drive to establish the Founders Fund.
Mr. Katz served as Cooperstown’s mayor from 2012-2018 and as a Village Trustee from 2005-2012. He said he will bring his same focus on advocacy to his new role for the foundation.

COVID update December 13

COVID update
December 13

There are 37 new COVID cases in Otsego County, according to the Otsego County Department of Health, including a total of 340 active cases with 10 hospitalizations. No new deaths have been reported.

There is a 9.1% positivity rate in the county.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced over the weekend that masks will be required in all public places starting today until January 15, 2022.

Bound Volumes 12-09-21

Bound Volumes


Man is so constituted, that when he directs all his energies to a single employment, the products of his labor are far more abundant and excellent, than when he follows several employments. By confining both body and mind to a single operation, a degree of skill and dexterity in that operation is acquired, which could not be attained if the same, or even a much greater amount of labor had been bestowed on several direct objects.
December 12, 1836

Otsego County COVID update

Otsego County COVID update

Update: 71 new cases were reported today, according to the Otsego County Department of Health. There are 359 active cases with 10 hospitalizations. No new deaths have been reported.

Otsego County Public Health Director Heidi Bond said Tuesday afternoon that the county is “currently experiencing the highest surge in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started almost two years ago.”

“It is critical that everyone continue to curb the spread of COVID-19,” she said. “We know that social distancing, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated works. Please continue to take the proper precautions to protect yourselves and those most at risk and get vaccinated.”

Otsego Sheriff wants more County support

Otsego Sheriff wants more County support

By Kevin Limiti • Special to

The Otsego County Sheriff’s office is having difficulty staffing and retaining deputies and corrections officers, a problem Sheriff Richard Devlin blames on low pay, excessive overtime, and what he calls “a lack of support” from the county.

Currently, there are 11 open positions for corrections officers at the Otsego County Jail in Cooperstown, which Sheriff Devlin says causes health issues for its officers required to work longer shifts, and problems with the upkeep at the facility itself.

“If you have a person working a 16-hour shift they’re not as fresh as someone working an eight-hour shift,” Sheriff Devlin told The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta. “There needs to be interest from the County Board to see these problems.”

COVID update December 1, 2021

COVID update
December 1, 2021

COVID cases are steadily increasing in Otsego County with 77 new cases reported today, 8 hospitalizations, and 2 new deaths, according to the Otsego County Department of Health.

There are 267 active cases in the county currently.

Otsego County is considered an area of high community transmission. The CDC and DOH recommend wearing masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Update: According to an Otsego County DOH press release, 22 of the 77 new cases were from November 18 to November 28, originated in nursing homes, and were not previously reported to the DOH.

Vaccine Clinic

Vaccine Clinic

Children got COVID-19 vaccine shots during Otsego County’s first vaccination clinic for kids ages five to twelve, in the Oneonta High School gym on November 11, 2021. Nearly 300 children received a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during the day, according to County Director of Public Health Heidi Bond. Overall, Otsego County COVID cases have begun to rise again. The county has had 4,206 confirmed cases of COVID in 2021 — one out of every 14 residents — and more than twice as many as in 2020.

Letter by Gary A. Wehner

Letter by Gary A. Wehner


To the Editor:

The September decision by the Otsego County Board of Representatives to implement a county-run emergency medical services (EMS) system is an unfortunate and ill-informed solution to the very serious problem of inadequate volunteer rural EMS in Otsego County. To the best of my knowledge, this plan was adopted without any public hearing or other public comment.

Why Buffalo Matters in Otsego County

Why Buffalo Matters in Otsego County

By TED POTRIKUS • Special to

After he lost the primary in June to Democratic Socialist India Walton, four-term incumbent Democrat Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown looked like a goner, relegated to the same political “oops” that befell Congressman Joe Crowley when he lost his can’t-lose primary to the completely unknown Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand endorsed Ms. Walton right away, as did the city’s state legislators and a bevy of heavyweight union leaders; Mayor Brown launched a longshot write-in campaign for the November election and hit the trail hard all summer and fall. As Election Day approached, some of the state’s leading left-flank lawmakers — including Ms. Ocasio-Cortez — flew to Buffalo for India Walton rallies. They saw the chance for a Western New York outpost to carry the
hard liberal messages stemming from AOC’s Queens home base.

Governor Kathy Hochul — a proud lifelong Buffalonian — stayed out, and by doing so, spoke volumes. AOC got the message and warned Democrats seeking office in 2022 that if they didn’t support the party’s candidate in the Buffalo mayoral race, they’d have trouble getting the party’s backing for their own contests in the year ahead.

New cannabis laws leave enforcement a little hazy

New cannabis laws leave enforcement a little hazy

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Otsego County Sheriff’s Department confirmed this week it is investigating a local business for “gifting” marijuana but that it also is not certain of enforcement protocol.

County Sheriff Sergeant Michael Stalter called the process a “convoluted quagmire.”

“It’s a very difficult thing right now,” he said. “We’re trying to catch up on the new (marijuana possession) laws as it is.

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