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Health & Medicine

"Yellow" COVID Designation for Parts of Onondaga County Means New Restrictions, Ramped-up Testing

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Gov. Cuomo's office
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Parts of Onondaga County, including the entire City of Syracuse, have been designated as a Yellow micro-cluster focus area by the state as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.  Other communities include East Syracuse, Solvay, Clay, Lysander, and Salina. 

County Executive Ryan McMahon says there are new restrictions:

"Starting Wednesday, if you have a restaurant, your maxiumum table is 4 people rather than 10.  There are no restrictions on capacity.  Bars and restaurants must close at midnight.  Gatherings are limited to 25 people, down from 50.  If things don't start to get under control, we might do that countywide."

The new designation also this means 20 percent of faculty, staff, and students in affected school districts will need to be tested weekly.  Districts include:  Syracuse City, East Syracuse-Minoa, Solvay, Lyncourt, Baldwinsville, and parts of North Syracuse in the 13090 zip code.  McMahon says charter and private schools also must participate.

"We are going to need parents giving permission for their children to be tested.  If they don't and we don't hit 20 percent, districts will be forced to go to remote learning."

McMahon says they’ll be using rapid nasal tests, but the swab won’t be as invasive.  Onondaga County has had a 7 day average positivity rate above three percent over the past 10 days.  Parts of Monroe and Erie Counties are also in new yellow zones.  

SU PUTS ACTIVITIES ON PAUSE

Syracuse University is imposing pauses on some campus activities after what officials are calling a “troubling” increase in new COVID-19 cases among students over the past 10 days.  In a message to the university community, Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie says contact tracing doesn’t suggest the cases are linked to any specific event or gathering, but rather overall community spread and complacency among some who aren’t following public health guidelines.  As a result, SU is suspending student organization activities and in-person dining, but in-person classes and athletics will continue for now.  However, classes will move online starting next Monday.