45 Cases: As Coronavirus aka COVID-19 Impacts Syracuse/Onondaga County as New York State Hits the ‘Pause’ Button

Onondaga County ‘positives’ have reached 45 as of Sunday afternoon 

Onondaga County Testing for COVID-19, If you do not have a doctor, Tip Sheet; How to prepare and take action for COVID-19

By now you’ve most likely are aware of the Coronavirus aka COVID -19  that has become the most looming public health crisis in our lifetime. Nationally, both branches of government are struggling to build consensus on an economic rescue package for the economy which is expected to tank as a result of the impact felt nationwide from COVID-19.

Local leaders have been in constant contact as Onondaga County activated its Emergency Operations Center.  Daily briefings from Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon along with Healthcare professionals provide important updates of where the county is regarding the battle against this pandemic.

Onondaga County’s positive infection numbers increased from 13 to 34 between Friday and Saturday, according to County Executive Ryan McMahon. 700 tests have come back negative, 34 of those tests are positives. The Onondaga County Health Department is responsible for handling the positive cases and tracking these individuals. Negative test numbers are coming from a variety of sources including; triage sites, St. Joe’s and primary care providers. “We anticipate hundreds of test results to come in today, tomorrow and Monday” According to County Executive Ryan McMahon during his daily press briefing.

Editors Note: Updated information 5:00 pm 3/22/20 45 confirmed cases 13 Syracuse, 7 in Salina; 6 in Clay; 4 in Cicero; 3 in Camillus, Manlius and Onondaga;  2 in Lysander; 2 in Pompey; and 2 in Skaneateles. 4 are hospitalized one in critical condition.

“One of the interesting things we’re seeing at our upstate New York triage hot line. The call volumes have been robust answering questions”, said McMahon. He continues, “the call volumes are starting to go down. Referrals to the SCHC triage testing site from these calls are starting to decrease by a little bit. We had 174 test kits that were performed yesterday at the triage site, which is down from 227 from the day before, and right now at 2:00 we had 60 referrals for today. We believe at this point that folks who are sick and had symptoms of the flu are getting the test and that we are testing and getting to these people. People are coming in, and we’re getting ahead of this curve.”

The County Executive has made the case that Syracuse and Onondaga County serves a region, more like one million, as people are drawn to our medical institutions covering a multiple county region.

Two of the people with the illness are hospitalized. One of them is in critical condition. The other is stable.

The increase in cases was expected as the county continues testing people showing symptoms. McMahon said “80 people in a mandatory quarantine right now from these cases. For the public, as we continue to test some of these quarantined residents, the health department will deem necessary to get tested. Certainly, we do anticipate some of these 80 people will test positive at some point. And as these investigations happen, as we work through the data we can tell you how many people are related to the quarantine. That means if you test positive you don’t stop and get some groceries real quick. We have people to do that, the senior hotline number is 315-218-1987.”

The County Executive recommends that people who have been seen on beaches on spring break need to self-quarantine. He eluded to the behavior seen of people enjoying Spring break not observing social distancing.

He encourages residents to take walks and observe social distance. In addition, he pointed out that we need to have compassion for those who have contracted this disease through no fault of their own. “They deserve our support” said McMahon.

What we know so far about the people who have tested positive: 25 women/20 men (updated 3/22/20)

  • under age 29: 13
  • Ages 30-39 : 6
  • Ages 40-49 :7
  • Ages 50-59 :6
  • Ages 60 -69 :5
  • Ages 70-79 :7
  • Ages 80-89 :1


  • 25 female
  • 20 male
  • 19 under the age of 40
  • 13 between 40 and 60 years old
  • 13 older than 60


  • Previous reports list the early patients as:(information has been updated)
  • A couple in their 70s, with no travel history, who contracted the virus locally (first 2 reported cases)
  • Two who traveled from New York City, a 23-year-old woman and 39-year-old woman (3rd and 4th cases – reported Wednesday)
  • A woman, 57, who traveled from Spain (5th case – reported Wednesday)
  • A man, 26, who came from New Jersey (6th case – reported Wednesday)
  • A woman, 37, who contracted the virus locally (7th case – reported Thursday)

Tip Sheet (PDF):

Help spread the word! Share this electronic/printable flyer about protecting yourself from COVID-19 and stopping the spread of germs. Languages available to date:  English  | Spanish  | Bengali  | Chinese  | Haitian  | Korean  | Russian

Governor Cuomo Signs the ‘New York State on Pause’ Executive Order

Governor Cuomo Declares State of Emergency to Contain Spread of Virus

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency to help New York more quickly and effectively contain the spread of the virus.

Gov. Cuomo

“As we continue to provide essential updates and encourage people to act upon the facts on coronavirus instead of the hype, I have officially done a declaration of emergency which gives us certain powers to help local health departments that are very stressed,” Governor Cuomo said. “As the local health departments continue to monitor and quarantine people, we have a more expedited purchasing protocol to get them all the tools they need to contain the virus spread. In the meantime we are cracking down on price gouging which continues to be a problem, and I want businesses to be aware that you could lose your license because we are very serious about this.”

This state of emergency declaration allows, among other things:

  • Expedited procurement of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and other essential resources
  • Allowing qualified professionals other than doctors and nurses to conduct testing
  • Expedited procurement of testing supplies and equipment
  • Expedited personnel onboarding
  • Expedited leasing of lab space
  • Allowing EMS personnel to transport patients to quarantine locations other than just hospitals
  • Providing clear basis for price gouging and enforcement investigation


President Trump Has Declared New York State A Disaster Area

What federal disaster declaration means for New York COVID-19 battle

On Friday March 20th President Donald Trump declared the novel coronavirus a major disaster in New York, by taking this action New York State is eligible for billions of dollars and other federal government aid.

According to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. The disaster declaration unlocks New York state’s access to the $42.6 billion federal Disaster Relief Fund and provides the Federal Emergency Agency, or FEMA, with resources and authority to address the outbreak in New York, “With more and more cases confirmed in New York each day, it’s imperative that the federal government does everything within its power to support New York in the state effort to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus,” Schumer said in a statement. “We’re at a vital point in the battle against the disease, and we need to do everything in our power to stop it, right here, right now,” he added.

Under the declaration FEMA can now provide New York with public and individual assistance under the Stafford Act at a 75% federal to 25% state cost share for eligible expenses and activities related to coronavirus efforts. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked FEMA to waive the state’s matching share.

Our Local Hero’s Syracuse Community Health Center

SCHC coronavirus Testing

The scene at Syracuse Community Health Center. People are arriving to one of the first testing areas in Central New York. If you’re experiencing symptoms call the number and they’ll set up an appointment for you to be tested. We must thank the staff of SCHC for being ground zero for testing in Syracuse, putting themselves in harms way. Inside the facility there are guards at every door. “You are required to sanitize your hands before being allowed in for a scheduled appointment. These are our local hero’s in healthcare. Thank you for what you’re doing for our community. Testing has begun in Syracuse NY for COVID-19 (Jackson photo)