Onondaga County will consider additional mitigation measures for COVID-19 if the number of cases does not flatten out soon. But county manager Ryan McMahon wouldn’t say what they could do. Central New York City has one of the highest 7-day positive rates in the state, and Gov. Hochul has hinted she may take action. McMahon explains that even entire countries with severe restrictions have not been able to reduce the numbers.
“We’re looking at a few things we can do if this doesn’t smooth out. We will probably give him a little more time because the weather gives us a little more. We definitely need this thing flattened before the indoor season. “
McMahon says that a third of cases are due to home exposure, which is virtually impossible to prevent. Otherwise, he says mask warrants are already in place at gathering places like schools and daycares, but they are difficult to enforce. McMahon says he’s very concerned about clusters of cases in two nursing homes, which require masks and have some of the highest vaccination rates for residents and staff. The state is also investigating. He is concerned about the implications for facility staff and for home care.
“Right now, from what I understand, nursing homes are not accepting a lot of new residents because of the challenges they face. This puts a lot of pressure on your ecosystem and your home care infrastructure. We’re monitoring this a lot and really trying to see what this challenge might look like. “
McMahon says the healthcare workforce is stretched and fatigued, limiting options for families. Meanwhile, some school districts are struggling with staff shortages due to COVID-related quarantines and isolation. A school in Liverpool had to switch to distance learning for this reason. Otherwise, McMahon says the students should stay in the classroom.
“If people need to get away for a while because they don’t have enough teachers, that makes sense. To suggest now, when active cases are 15-20 percent of our peak, when we had kids in school, that [they go remote] as a risk-based approach, we strongly disagree. Data doesn’t deserve this.
He says the expected emergency approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds, hopefully around Halloween, should bring cases down. The same goes for booster injections. The county is once again partnering with Kinney Drugs for a recall clinic Thursday, Oct. 14 from 9 to 4 at the Oncenter. Registration is required at ongov.net.