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Onondaga County's message to residents about coronavirus: stay calm

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, right, and county Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta answer questions from the media Wednesday about the county's preparedness for the coronavirus

Onondaga County officials are urging central New Yorkers to stay calm when it comes to the coronavirus and the possibility of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, turning up locally.

County Executive Ryan McMahon has just a few words for people worried about the virus spreading into Onondaga County.

"This is not the time to panic," he said.

McMahon was in Washington D.C. this week for a conference with county executives from across the country, and left him confident that Onondaga County is ready for the virus.

"We are very, very well prepared. In Onondaga County we have a wealth of resources. We are known for our eds and our meds and certainly our meds are prepared for any challenge that is in front of us," he said.

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta said preparations initially involve surveillance of potential cases. The next step is information sharing with local schools, nursing homes and daycares about ways to prevent spread of the contagious germs. The county is working with local doctor's offices about testing protocols, and the county's emergency management team has plans in place in case there is a community spread of the virus.

"At present we do not have any pending or confirmed cases of COVID-19," Gupta said. "But it will happen in our community. It will happen, but we don’t know when."

12 people in Onondaga County are currently quarantined after returning to the U.S. from China. But none of the 12 have tested positive for the virus.

Health officials stress that for most people, the virus is mild. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk of catching the virus.

Onondaga County residents can find up to date information about coronavirus on the health department's website.