Picente: COVID-19 cluster develops after local students participate in dance competition

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente gives a local update on coronavirus.

Posted: Apr 20, 2021 3:06 PM
Updated: Apr 20, 2021 5:41 PM

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says a cluster of coronavirus cases has developed in Whitesboro stemming from a positive case at a local dance school. 

Picente says it's the largest and fastest-spreading local cluster since the start of the pandemic, with more than 20 people testing positive, 18 of whom are between the ages of 6 and 17.

According to Picente, students at the dance school participated in a competition in Syracuse on April 17, and multiple students who had symptoms and later tested positive, attended the event. The county executive said he will not name the dance school.

On Monday, Whitesboro CSD announced all students would learn remotely Tuesday due to “extensive community exposures” to COVID-19. Picente confirmed this was a direct result of the exposures at the dance competition.

“In this case, it’s possible that more school districts will be affected, and may have to go remote as a result,” he said.

Many school districts, including Whitesboro, just returned to fully in-person learning last week.

The county health department is working with the district on contact tracing.

“Their hope is to reopen tomorrow. However, 300 students are in quarantine. There’s another 300 that will be required to self-monitor,” said Picente. “And it just doesn’t end there, is my point, because of those 300 students, remember that could be as many as 300 families. And just do the multiplying effect of what happens, when people go into quarantine.”

Since the start of the pandemic, health officials have stressed to people the importance of staying home if experiencing symptoms, in order to avoid this kind of spread.

When people ask Picente why they have to be placed in quarantine when they’re following the rules, he says it’s because others aren’t.

“It’s because of failure by others to follow simple safety guidelines, like wearing masks, social distancing, testing and the most simple, of staying home and not participating in activities when you have symptoms,” said Picente. 

Picente also said the dance school did not have a contingency plan in place,as the state has required for sports considered high risk. The county executive said he doesn't want to start closing things down again, but he would if he had to. 

No other school districts have announced any plans to go remote at this time.

Watch Picente's full Tuesday update on the cluster below:

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2066989

Reported Deaths: 52611
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings27515910235
Queens2723029785
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Nassau1813753158
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Albany24270348
Oneida22021503
Niagara19398349
Broome18127355
Saratoga14924165
Ulster13638250
Schenectady12835195
Rensselaer11002140
Putnam1048891
Chautauqua8703140
Chemung7435134
Oswego732390
Ontario723492
Steuben6639143
Sullivan647272
St. Lawrence641596
Cayuga611292
Jefferson576766
Wayne554667
Cattaraugus546586
Genesee5286121
Herkimer5054107
Clinton475133
Madison441488
Fulton428190
Livingston425658
Tompkins419350
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Tioga361861
Warren352957
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Chenango335376
Otsego335347
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Washington302755
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Lewis260734
Franklin250312
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