COVID-19 Update: Strategic Proactive Testing, County Workers Trained As Contact Tracers

May 8, 2020

Credit Onondaga County Health Department /

As Onondaga County continues to proactively test more senior facilities, they continue to find and treat more cases of COVID-19. Five people died of COVID-19 and there were 52 new cases Friday with more than half of them being attributed to contact cases or senior facilities.

County Executive Ryan McMahon said as they expand proactive testing, they’ll have a strategy to find more positive cases.

“When we start to do proactive testing in neighborhoods, we’re going to be picking neighborhoods that have seen cases. Maybe not a spread, but have seen cases.” said McMahon. “We anticipate we would see similar results in those neighborhoods to what we saw in the assisted living facilities that had a couple cases early on. That we’ll find more asymptomatic people, more people that have light symptoms that wouldn’t have gotten tested.”

Another measure the county is taking in order to ensure its ability to reopen the economy is increase the number of county employees who are trained as contact tracers. McMahon said 300 employees will be trained through a Johns Hopkins program in order to meet state requirements. He said this will be viewed as a shared service.

“That 300 number satisfies not just Onondaga County’s goal for restart, but the whole region’s goal. Satisfies and exceeds,” said McMahon. 

Around 10% of the county’s full-time workforce will be trained in contact tracing. McMahon said he’s also heard from retired county workers who have offered to volunteer in that area.


Onondaga County health official are warning members of the public may have been exposed to COVID-19 from a shopper who stopped at 8 different places last Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The shopper was wearing a mask. Those who were at these locations are asked to monitor them health for the next 14 days.

  • Mavis Muffler, 404 Oswego Street in Liverpool- Saturday, May 2: 11:00 to 11:30 am and 5:30 to 6:00 pm
  • Walmart, 6438 Basile Rowe in East Syracuse- Saturday, May 2: from 1:30 to 2:00 pm
  • Tractor Supply Co. Store, 6641 Manlius Center Road in East Syracuse- Saturday, May 2: 2:30pm to 3:00 pm
  • PetSmart, 3865 Route 31 in Liverpool- Sunday, May 3: 1:15 to 1:30 pm
  • Lowe’s, 3856 Route 31 in Liverpool- Sunday, May 3: 2:30 to 2:45 pm
  • Aldi, 3942 Route 31 in Clay- Sunday, May 3: 3:00 to 3:20 pm
  • Peppino’s Pizza, 1849 Grant Blvd. in Syracuse- Monday, May 4: 1:20 to 1:30 pm
  • Wegman’s, 4979 West Taft Road in Liverpool- Monday, May 4: 6:00 to 6:30 pm