Onondaga County Executive addresses rise in COVID-19 cases and efforts to slow the spread


ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On Monday at a press conference, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced a busy weekend of new cases for the county.

Since Saturday, Onondaga County is reporting a total of 208 new cases of COVID-19, many coming from community spread. On June 27, the county only had one new case of Coronavirus.

  • Saturday, August 7 – 90 cases
  • Sunday, August 8 – 61 cases
  • Monday, August 9 – 57 cases

As of Monday, 29 residents are in the hospital and 8 are in the ICU. It’s unclear how many of those individuals are fully vaccinated.

We know that finding the virus, wherever it is, is what we need to do. Then we need to isolate that threat, and that’s what we’re doing.

Ryan McMahon, Onondaga County Executive

On the vaccine front, Onondaga County is nearing a milestone of having close to 300,000 residents vaccinated with at least one dose.

Along with the county’s public health director, Dr. Indu Gupta, McMahon announced that the county is reinstating a mandatory quarantine for individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and waiting for a test result to come back.

“We did this in the beginning. What does that mean? It means if I am sick, and I have COVID symptoms and I get a test and am waiting for that result to come back, you are now in a quarantine. We are doing that because based off of data, folks are not doing that and then they are spreading the virus,” County Executive McMahon explained.

A quarantine plan for breakthrough cases was also clarified at Monday’s briefing. If vaccinated with a positive test, individuals would have to quarantine for ten days. Those same individuals would be able to test out of quarantine with a negative test in 3-5 days.

If vaccinated and awaiting a COVID-19 test, once that individual receives a negative test they no longer have to quarantine.

Since July 1, 38% of cases are among those who are fully vaccinated, according to the county’s website. Despite the virus continuing to infect more people, McMahon says a county-wide mask mandate isn’t going to happen just yet.

To suggest that we’re in a position where we can enforce a mask mandate in a community with dozens of miles that we have and over half a million people in and out of the county each day, that’s not realistic. People should wear the masks when they’re in settings where there are lots of people, specifically indoors. We’ve said that. We highly recommended it for people who are most at-risk.

Ryan McMahon, Onondaga County Executive

McMahon also said at his press conference that Onondaga County school districts can expect formal guidance from the county by the end of this week.

Specifics weren’t disclosed, but the County Executive said the health department is crafting this year’s guidance based off of what worked last year such as temperature checks, social distancing, rules for transportation and mask wearing.

McMahon said the decision to enforce the formal guidance provided by the county is ultimately up to each school district.

To watch the entire press conference, click the video player below.

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