UTICA, N.Y. – Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente outlined the county’s plan for reopening during his press conference Thursday, announcing three new advisory councils and the requirements for opening two major sectors, public health services and the business.
Picente revealed the new CNY/Mohawk Valley Restart Flow Chart, which shows how certain areas are connected, and what falls under public health and economic divisions.
County officials will continue damage and risk assessments while executing the plan, and maintain communication with the public, local governments, businesses and schools as the process progresses.
Picente says the damage assessment will provide an idea of how the public and economy have been impacted, including unemployment rates, health concerns outside of the pandemic and tax revenue losses. Picente said there was a 25% decline in the sales tax in March alone.
“That is a huge number to overcome, and until we can get this economy back moving, it’s going to get worse,” said Picente.
A risk assessment will also be made to ensure vulnerable populations are protected and the health and emergency infrastructure is prepared to handle a potential spike after reopening.
The county has also been working with the three advisory councils to create the plan, and will continue to consult them during the reopening phases.
This includes a Business Advisory Council consisting of local business owners, a Health Advisory Council headed by Phyllis Ellis, and a Local Government Advisory Council of elected officials and legislators.
The Business Advisory Council includes owners of businesses in various industries, including manufacturing companies, salons, restaurants and others, that helped provide the county feedback on how they’ve been impacted and how they envision reopening.
Picente said the phases of reopening mostly align with the phased approach released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The county has not defined what phase every industry falls into, but did name a few:
- Phase 1: Health offices, specialty doctors, manufacturing and whole sale supply, construction, select retail (using curbside pickup), etc.
- Phase 2: Salons, personal care services, finance, insurance, religious institutions, etc.
- Phase 3: Restaurants, hotels, etc.
- Phase 4: Arts, entertainment, recreation, education, etc.
As for public health, Picente says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines will be followed, and the county will have to meet the criteria put out by the state for reopening, including:
- Steady 14-day decline in positive cases
- Steady 14-day decline in deaths
- Decline in new hospitalizations on a rolling average
- Hospital bed capacity must meet 30% threshold
- ICU bed capacity must meet 30% threshold
- Testing rates of 30 per 1,000 residents
- At least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents
Picente said the county currently meets most of the criteria, including being at 58% hospital capacity and 64% ICU capacity.
Oneida County is working closely with other counties in the region to align and execute reopening plans.
“This is really an overview of what our plan looks like it will be replicated in similar fashion throughout all of the counties. So each county can put those groups together...businesses and health and local governments...each county needs to steer their destiny and we can still continue to work as a region,” said Picente.
See the full CNY/Mohawk Valley Restart Flow Chart below.