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McMahon Warns Against Mass Gatherings To Celebrate 4th of July, Could Risk Economy Reopening

Onondaga County Executive's Office

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is urging local residents to stay away from large gatherings ahead of the July 4th weekend.

Our numbers have gone in the right direction and the weather’s nice, that people are losing focus a little," said McMahon. "It just takes one mistake to really cause a cluster.”

Onondaga County’s infection rate has oscillated between .75% and 1.5% in recent weeks. McMahon said groups of over 50 people increase the risk of creating a cluster of COVID-19 cases, which could halt or even reverse the economic reopening that is happening in Central New York.

“We owe it to all the businesses on the sidelines still that have not been able to reopen to respect this virus and to wear a mask," said McMahon. "It’s exhausting dealing with the complaints and working on folks that just don’t want to wear a mask still. And certainly physically distance. Why? Because we know it works.”

One recent large gathering has resulted in confirmed cases of the virus. Several people who attended the Rye Day celebration on June 20th tested positive and now are in quarantine.

“We wouldn’t call it an outbreak. It’s a handful right now. We’re still contact tracing there," said McMahon. "We’re asking, we’re setting up a mobile testing site essentially to ask these folks to get testing because we believe the risk is there for more people to have been exposed.”

The mobile testing site will be set up in the OnCenter parking lot this Friday from 9 am to 1 pm. McMahon said if that timeframe does not work for someone who attended the Rye Day party, they should call and set up a test with their doctor. Universal testing will resume at the Syracuse Community Health Center on Monday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Katie Zilcosky is WAER’s All Things Considered host and features reporter. She also co-hosts WAER’s public affairs show Syracuse Speaks. As a reporter, she focuses on technology, poverty, and identity.