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Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog.

Coronavirus hospitalizations climb in Onondaga County; Upstate nurses go downstate to help

Payne Horning
WRVO News (file photo)

Positive cases of COVID-19 continue to escalate in Onondaga County. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 422, with 41 people hospitalized, and 22 in critical condition. There have been six deaths in the county.

County Executive Ryan McMahon said Wednesday following a new voluntary shelter in place order, residents are doing a better job of social distancing. But he is worried about one way of spreading the disease that continues to come up, people going to work sick.

"This is just something that is such a no-brainer that it just frustrates me," McMahon said. "And I know the people in this boat understand that now. But let's learn from these examples moving forward."

McMahon announced two more businesses where there could be potential public exposure because of sick employees. He said members of the public who visited the following stores on these days and times may have been exposed:

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, 3150 Erie Blvd East in Dewitt

• Monday, March 30: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

• Wednesday, April 1: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Colonial Laundromat, 408 Oswego St. in Liverpool

• Tuesday, March 31: 6:30 am to 2:30 pm

• Wednesday, April 1: 6:30 am to 2:30 pm

• Thursday, April 2: 6:30 am to 12:30 pm


Nurses from Upstate University Hospital will get a police escort out of Onondaga County Thursday morning, as nearly two dozen head to a coronavirus hotspot that needs help.

Upstate Medical University CEO Dr. Robert Corona said during the briefing that Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island issued a call for help fighting COVID-19.

"They are getting overwhelmed right now with COVID positive patients and they are building a 1,000 bed hospital on a football field and our nursing staff is going down to support them," Corona said.

22 Upstate hospital nurses will head down to StonyBrook, including pediatric ICU nurse Jessica Falgiatano. She said after getting permission from her four children, she felt compelled to use the preparation she’s had for the last several weeks to help.

"We kind of have been sitting here being ready," she said. "And at the same time, looking at videos and news stories about our colleagues downstate who are struggling and are overwhelmed. And I felt this was the right thing to do and there’s no reason we shouldn’t come down and help them out."

Falgiatano said she is comfortable going into an area with almost 35,000 positive COVID cases.

"I feel pretty comfortable using the PPE we’re going to have. I know we will have an appropriate stock of it per se. And I need to rely on the training I’ve been doing, and I feel comfortable that it will protect me," she said.

The Upstate nurses will be there for 2 weeks.

52 healthcare workers from Cayuga Medical Group are also headed to New York City to help out during the pandemic  

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.