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Health & Medicine

Onondaga County Shifts Strategy, Resources As It Strives For Herd Immunity

Onondaga County Executive's Office

The demand for COVID-19 tests in Onondaga County has decreased, so the county-run site for symptomatic testing at the Central New York regional market will close. County Executive Ryan McMahon said it’s not a sign that the virus is no longer a threat in the community.

Rather, they are adjusting resources based on the reality of the current moment.

“You don’t want to check off the box, mission accomplished, because we’ve been through this before, and we had another wave. But what we didn’t have in November and October was the vaccine. So things are different now,” said McMahon.

McMahon estimates nearly 230,000 residents will have at least the first dose of a vaccine by the end of the week, which is over 64% of the current eligible population. But more people need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

To do that, the county is increasingly focused on bringing clinics to community locations and high schools. McMahon said he expects to hold a clinic for each school district in the county by the end of next week. Then they’ll move further into pockets of the county.

“But I think after that I think we will be doing pretty much community outreach in zip codes, in areas where we’ll have to get creative. And you’ll probably see less of a clinic here at the OnCenter, maybe once a week if we’re having a large second shot day,” said McMahon.

McMahon said the mass vaccination clinic at the OnCenter used to administer around 1,800 shots a day, and now does about 600 per clinic. Vaccine resources and appointments are still available on the county’s website.