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98 new coronavirus cases in Onondaga County Thursday, more expected Friday

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Onondaga County’s COVID 19 infection rate is over 2% for the first time since early summer, and recent daily case numbers have officials concerned.

After a record 99 new infections were reported a week ago, numbers started dropping a bit. But now the number of positive tests has returned with a vengeance. There were 94 cases reported Wednesday and 98 Thursday.

County Executive Ryan McMahon said Friday’s numbers are likely to be the highest since the pandemic began.

“Right now we’re in a situation where we’re going to have three or four days of very high data,” McMahon said.

The community can live with that 2% positive rate, according to McMahon. What he’s worried about is the increase in hospitalizations in recent weeks. There were 42 COVID cases taking up hospital beds on Thursday. At the height of the pandemic this spring, there were 60 to 70 people in hospitals.

And even though things have gotten better, it’s not a good scenario.

“The good news about hospitalization numbers, what we’re hearing from hospitals, therapeutics work better so people are getting out quicker, and mortality rates are way down.” He said. “But again this isn’t something to mess around with.”

The spike in numbers has also forced the county to move 20 employees to the health department to help there.

“Intake, checking up on active cases, quarantine cases, etc.,” McMahon said. “589 active cases, 1919 in quarantine, that’s a lot of different folks to contact each day.”

McMahon emphasizes people need to not let their guard down about the pandemic, and make sure they get tested if they have symptoms, avoid large gatherings, and don’t go to work sick.