Utica, N.Y. – At least 300 students are in quarantine in Oneida County after dance school students showing Covid-19 symptoms attended a competition in Syracuse on Saturday, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said today.
Picente said it’s the worst outbreak in the county since the pandemic began.
“This is our largest cluster, our fastest cluster, and we’re a year into this,” an obviously frustrated Picente said at a news conference. “When 300 people are quarantined, people have to stay home from work, some businesses have to close, schools have to close.”
The Whitesboro Central School District, one of the largest in Oneida County, went fully remote today because of the Covid-19 exposures. Other districts may have to do the same as cases or exposures pop up, Picente said.
Picente said the health department investigation has found that more than one student from an Oneida County dance school had Covid-19 symptoms and attended the Syracuse competition anyway. He said the school didn’t practice proper protocols and didn’t have a plan in place to deal with Covid-19 cases.
“Carelessness is preventing us from returning to normal and punishing the people who are doing all the right things,” Picente said.
He declined to name the school or the competition.
Picente said he has been in touch with Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.
“We don’t know what kind of effect this will have in Onondaga County,” Picente said. “This competition took place in Syracuse, and probably other dance schools were part of this.”
No one in Onondaga County has been quarantined, said county spokesman Justin Sayles.
“It is our understanding that (Oneida County officials) are still performing their investigation, so this is very much an evolving situation,” Sayles said.
Picente said 20 people connected to the dance school cases have tested positive. They range from 6 to 17 years old, he said, and are from several school districts.
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