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Covid update: Ryan McMahon addresses Onondaga County’s ‘stark turnaround’ – syracuse.com

By

Feb 23, 2021

Syracuse, N.Y. – Seven weeks ago, when nearly 9% of all Covid-19 tests in Onondaga County came back positive, County Executive Ryan McMahon hoped to lower the rate to 5%. That seemed like a reasonable goal for the winter months.

Instead, the positive test rate has steadily fallen much further, reaching 1.1% today, as averaged over the past week. That’s the lowest it’s been since just before Halloween, a significant win in the fight against the coronavirus.

“I am surprised’’ by the extent of the drop, McMahon said today. “I would have taken 5% through the winter to be honest with you.’’

The county’s positivity rate is less than one-third the average statewide rate of 3.5%.

The number of county residents with active cases of Covid-19 fell to 667 today, nine times lower than the record 6,027 active cases recorded Jan. 3.

The county confirmed 60 new cases since Sunday, McMahon said. There were 79 Covid-19 patients in local hospitals today, including 11 in intensive care.

There were no new deaths to report today, McMahon said.

All in all, the county has made a “pretty stark turnaround’’ from the deadly surge that began after Halloween and continued through late January, McMahon said.

In part, the progress is due to vaccines, McMahon said. Roughly 79,000 county residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, or 17% of the population. In addition, more than 31,000 county residents have had Covid-19 since March and probably have some immunity, McMahon said.

But McMahon said changes in behavior also played a role. The holiday surge led to hundreds of serious illnesses and deaths, which likely influenced attitudes toward testing, mask wearing and other public health measures.

“It was a terrible time for our community,’’ McMahon said. “Unfortunately, most people know somebody who died from Covid at this point. So I think that changed human behavior as well. Since then, we’ve been doing what we need to do as a community.’’

Do you have a news tip or a story idea? Contact reporter Tim Knauss of syracuse.com/The Post-Standard: email | Twitter | | 315-470-3023

 

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