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Leaders urge precautions as Covid activity grows in Onondaga County

A magnified particle image of the COVID-19 virus shows the virus as a round-shaped cell covered with red nodules.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The coronavirus is shown in a microscopic image.

Local officials are warning the public that COVID-19 activity is starting to increase in the region. The 7-day average positivity rate for Onondaga County is 9.9% as of Sunday—an increase from 6.9% in July, according to state data.

Mayor Ben Walsh raised concerns at his September community briefing earlier this month. He said while the rise is expected, there are steps citizens must take to protect themselves.

“For people that are at high risk of getting very sick, the CDC does recommend wearing a high-quality mask or respirator," Walsh said, noting people in close proximity to high-risk populations should regularly test themselves to identify any infection before contact.

Upstate Medical University Dr. Christopher Morley, head of the institution's public health department, said the area is seeing upwards of 100 cases a day and about 90% of the cases are BA.5, a lineage of the more contagious omicron variant. Morley said some community members may be forgetting the simple steps to prevent the virus from spreading, but the pandemic isn't over.

“We’re missing the opportunity to do really, relatively easy things," Morley said.  

Morley said available vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness.

"They are updated now, so they are keeping at least some pace with the variants," he said.

Morley said the public should consider wearing a mask during gatherings and test themselves before or after an event.

Isabel Flores is a graduate student studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. School of Public Communications, expected to graduate in May of 2023. As a multimedia reporter, she helps to present as well as produce audio and digital content for WAER. In her free time, Isabel enjoys working out and listening to all genres of music.