Onondaga County monitoring clusters of COVID-19; Asking parents to get their teens tested

Coronavirus

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Onondaga County’s COVID-19 data is showing an increase in cases among younger age groups.

During Thursday’s press conference, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said that since July 2, the County has seen 186 new cases of the coronavirus. Roughly one-third of those cases have been people under the age of 30.

A cluster of teenagers, resulting in 14 positive cases so far, have been contact-traced back to graduation parties.

McMahon expects many more cases resulting from this. “When you have a cluster, we get two to three weeks of cases. We have infrastructure to deal with it but it takes one case that leads to dozens of cases.”

He says these cases are a serious disruption, not just for the Health Department, but for the teens who will need to be placed in quarantine and the possible risk they could spread the disease to high risk loved ones.

The Onondaga County Health Department is working with school districts to set up mobile testing sites. McMahon is urging parents to get their teens tested and “nip this now so kids can get back to school.”

“Let’s get it in control in July so when they go off to college in August it’s not an issue,” McMahon added. Many colleges have safety plans that will test students when they return to campus.

McMahon said he’s considering similar penalties to Rockland County, such as hefty fines for anyone who doesn’t cooperate with quarantine orders. According to the Rockland County Health Department website, fines could be as much as $2,000 per day.

Another cluster of COVID cases have caused hospitalization numbers to increase. McMahon said 25 of the 51 hospitalized are from a memory care facility that has experienced an outbreak. The facility does fall under the New York State Department of Health as an assisted living facility, which would be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing. Because the facility does not have the level of medical care a nursing home would, many of these patients have been placed in the hospital to prevent further spread but do not need hospitalization.

10 of the hospitalized cases have recovered but are waiting for a negative test to return to their nursing home.

Five more cases have been attributed to out-of-state travel. Residents returning from Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, and Downstate New York have tested positive for COVID-19. McMahon said those who traveling should understand the risk and continue to take precautions. It’s also a reminder of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s travel advisory, which quarantines anyone traveling from certain states.


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