ORISKANY, N.Y. – A cluster of COVID-19 cases at Oneida County Correctional Facility has left 17 corrections officers out on leave, according to Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, after they all tested positive for the virus.
There have also been 18 confirmed cases among the inmates since the first officer was diagnosed on March 10, but Maciol says just five are still in quarantine. Of those five, four are in isolation and one is in the hospital.
The jail is facing other staffing woes as well, with an influx of inmates and less officers completing training at the academy.
"So, what I'm dealing with now is a higher jail population than we've seen in probably two years, I've got 17 officers out on COVID; I also have a corrections academy that is currently on hold,” said Maciol.
Bail reform hasn't gone away; the jail population is so high because nearly 60 soon-to-be state prison inmates, who were sentenced in county court to state prison time, are in a holding pattern at OCJ, because state prisons won't accept them right now, due to COVID.
The jail has also put a hold on inmate transportations for the time being, due to the cluster of cases. This has caused some court appearances to be postponed, including the manslaughter sentencing of Naythen Aubain, who was supposed to be sentenced in Oneida County court on Thursday, March 25, for the deaths of his elderly grandmother and landlord, in January of 2019.
Sheriff Maciol says inmate transports will resume when the spike is under control. He ways the corrections academy will be on hold for at least another week. He says they were just starting to discuss resuming jail visitation after a full year, but that, too, is on hold for now.