COVID 19 Cases Rise in Onondaga County while Plans to Rescue Local Economy Announced

Mar 25, 2020

Can Economic Task Force save local businesses now and preserve them for future? City, County, local businesses and non-profits announced task force Wednesday
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The number of cases of COVID 19 in Onondaga County jumped 35% as of Wednesday’s local update.  County leaders continue to emphasize staying isolated, while saying those told to stay in quarantine could face criminal charges should they ignore the order. 

Meanwhile A special panel announced by the City of Syracuse is meant to help local businesses survive the current economic downturn and emerge strong on the other side.  Mayor Ben Walsh called the swift impacts on some local companies staggering and crippling.  He announced the Economic Resilience Task Force to help with a long-view in mind.

“As we work to address the immediate needs of our business community, we also have to make a plan of how Syracuse and Onondaga County is prepared to exit the pandemic and kick our economy back into high gear.”

The group includes members from government, non-profits and many business sectors.  Centerstate CEO Analyst Andrew Fish says the first task is to assess the various challenges.  And he says some responses could be immediate.

“…companies having layoffs but also companies looking to hire and making those connections directly between those workers and those companies.  (There are) issues around critical supplies.  We’ve had companies in Central New York generously donate masks and the things to the healthcare industry, simply by people raising their hand and saying, we want to help,’ and people raising their hand and saying, ‘we need help.’”

(From Office of the Mayor)

  • Assess
    CenterState CEO is conducting a baseline survey of local businesses to gather concerns, impacts, actions, and best practices on business operations and personnel dynamics. The survey results, combined with information from direct contact with CenterState CEO and MACNY members, will be used to inform policy decisions, develop advocacy priorities, create new programming, catalogue best practices, and identify common pain points in the region. Those organizations willing to provide feedback and participate in the survey can do so at
  • Respond
    The Task Force will aggregate information from government, private, and non-profit sector partners and provide guidance to the business community as needed, with daily recaps, explanations of crucial business information, and common resource sites. Anyone seeking to contact the Task Force can do so by emailing
  • Mitigate
    The Task Force will review emerging, individual business needs and provide applicable connections to resources, employment prospects, supply chain opportunities, and financial assistance, as well as respond to other short term, time sensitive requests. The goal is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the community’s response and mitigate duplication of efforts and staff resources.
  • Recover
    The Task Force will provide a structure for long term recovery planning efforts, ongoing program assessment, and qualitative feedback for local partners’ mitigation and recovery efforts in coordination with partner organizations and business community leadership.

The task force can also help a business find out what kind of assistance they might be able to get from federal, state and local programs. 


Meanwhile Onondaga County reports 81 confirmed cases of COVID 19 as of Wednesday.   County Executive Ryan McMahon reports more than half are people under age 50.   He criticized what he says as casual behavior among some groups.

“We know that there are hotspots in New York State that are as hot and burning hot with infection (as) anywhere else in the world.  And yet we continue to see people traveling to New York City, back and forth.  That is a risk to this community.”  

McMahon also warned people that if they are under official quarantine, that they're acually breaking the law to go out.  He said it would be a shame if after coming off of quarantine, they ended up in jail or fined for not staying at home, isolated during a doctor- or health department- ordered quarantine. 

Local hospitals have reportedly met a demand to increase their capacity by 50-percent, in anticipation of a jump in serious cases of COVID 19.  The county is also considering an emergency remote site to set up hospital beds if needed.