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Health & Medicine

COVID-19 Update: Most Syracuse Businesses and Residents Social Distancing, But Some Still Resist

Onondaga County Executive's Office

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh stopped by the Onondaga County daily COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. Walsh discussed social distancing policies in the city and how police are handling those who are have not been complying.

There have been 237 calls regarding social distancing since late March. 

"Do we put our first responders and specifically our police officers in harm’s way?" said Walsh. "Requiring them to further engage with these individuals, who have already clearly shown that they don't have regard for their own health or the health of their loved ones. To date, the answer has been no."

The policy up to this point has been to educate and inform. Fines are not typically issued. Walsh said fines don't always guarantee a solution. 

"Often times we're dealing with communities, poorer communities, when issuing a $1,000 citation isn't going to accomplish a whole lot," said Walsh. "Especially because it isn't going to necessarily change that behavior."

Walsh said the policies are constantly being reviewed and will be updated as needed. Additionally, four businesses have been shut down for violating the closure order, and they have been reported to the New York State Attorney General's Office. But Walsh said for the most part, people and businesses are complying. 

The number of pending tests is decreasing as new rapid testing centers develop in Syracuse's hospitals. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said Upstate, Crouse, and newly St. Joseph's Hospital will all have the capability to get test results in less than 24 hours.

"This is also really helpful," said McMahon. Our strategy is to test, quarantine, and then monitor. You kind of create that box, that strategy. For us to be able to do that quicker helps really contain the spread of this."

Seventeen more positive cases were reported Tuesday, but the number of active cases in Onondaga County is beginning to flatten. There are 258 active cases, 6 more than yesterday. McMahon attributes this to social distancing, and said the data shows it. This is the second week of Onondaga County's voluntary shelter in place.