Onondaga County faces “rough couple of weeks” as the holidays approach

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Onondaga County lost three more residents to COVID-19, County Executive Ryan McMahon announced Thursday. 

Two of the men who died were in their 70s and 80s with underlying conditions, the other was in a nursing home, McMahon told the media during a press conference. 

The county announced 295 new COVID-19 cases with 1,816 currently active. McMahon says the county has seen around 1,700-2,000 active cases over the last week and believes the numbers are starting to slow. 

He also stressed the need for those who have not received the COVID-19 vaccination to do so. Currently, 141 residents are in the hospital with COVID-19, 35 are in intensive care and 86% of those in ICU are unvaccinated. 

“It is the best tool we have to what is likely going to be a rough couple of weeks,” McMahon said. 

15% of the county’s 18-and-over population are unvaccinated and they take up 50% of all hospital beds in the county. And while 53% of those hospitalized in Onondaga County hospitals over the last 24 hours are what the state considers vaccinated, the remaining 43% have a greater risk of severe illness. 

As for the Omicron variant, the county did not have any new numbers to announce, but McMahon did say he believed the numbers to rise with the current situation at Cornell University. With that in mind, McMahon still says the current threat is the deadlier Delta variant. 

He encouraged testing from those both symptomatic and asymptomatic.  

“We need to identify the virus anyway we can before we get together for Christmas and the holidays,” McMahon said. 

Next week, the County Civic Center will hold symptomatic testing Monday through Thursday. Next Tuesday, the county will hold testing at the Fabius Community Center, and next Wednesday at the Cicero American Legion. Those interested can register at ongov.net. Those who are also having trouble finding a booster shot can email the County Executive and his team will help find an appointment. 

The county is also expecting to have 19,000 at home test kits from the state Friday for the “Test to Stay” program. The program is geared toward allowing kids who are exposed to test and stay in school instead of quarantining at home. 

“As the Omicron variant comes, it’s critical we use the ‘Test to Stay’ program to keep kids in school and keep things moving forward,” McMahon said. 

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