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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.

Onondaga County expected to hit highest number of COVID-19 cases

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo
Syracuse University.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon expects the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the county, since the start of the pandemic, will be announced on Wednesday. The current record, 149 cases, was set last Friday. Officials say the number of cases is reflective of what was happening in the community 10-14 days ago and Halloween falls within that time period.

McMahon said a spread at Syracuse University is going to drive some of those numbers. SU announced 50 new cases on Tuesday. The university is switching to all remote classes next week, but they might have to start sooner. Any university that reports 100 cases in a two-week period must immediately switch to remote learning. SU is currently at 86 cases. 

"Faculty and students should be prepared for an accelerated transition," SU Vice Chancellor Michael Haynie said in an email to the campus Tuesday.

In general, McMahon said gatherings are a problem.

“We need to limit our gatherings,” McMahon said. “We need to limit who are network is now. We need to be smart with distancing when in public. Continue to wear your mask.”

McMahon announced 98 new cases of the virus on Tuesday. Parts of Onondaga County, including the city of Syracuse, have been designated as a yellow zone by New York state, which comes with new restrictions on bars and restaurants. Schools in the yellow zone must also test 20% of students, faculty and staff. McMahon said school districts will contact parents about allowing their kids to be tested.

“If we don’t get enough participation from parents, the answer is clear; the schools will go remote,” McMahon said. “The schools have to get to 20% a week. This is a Herculean task.”

McMahon said other parts of the county, including the towns of Manlius and Cicero are close to being put in the yellow zone, as well.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.