Ellen Abbott

Reporter, Syracuse

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. 

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Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Anyone who was able to register for a coronavirus vaccine in Onondaga County this week was very lucky. County Executive Ryan McMahon said tens of thousands of people were vying for about 900 vaccine appointments, and they were filled within minutes. He estimates about 80,000 were eligible.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh isn’t letting the pandemic get him down when it comes to assessing the state of the city. Walsh admits the pandemic may have slowed progress on certain issues, but contends the city’s best days are ahead.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

There will be 3,000-4,000 fewer doses of the coronavirus vaccine going into arms of central New Yorkers this week, compared to last. It’s disturbing to local officials.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

As the U.S. Senate gets down to businesses this week, New York’s two senators are pushing again for more aid to state and local governments, as part of the next COVID-relief bill.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lifted restrictions on restaurants in orange zones. That means these establishments, including many in central New York, will be able to invite patrons inside for dinner.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

New York state is opening up five mass distribution centers for the coronavirus vaccine this week, including one in central New York. Residents over the age of 65, as well as first responders, teachers and others eligible to sign up for the vaccine, have started getting the shot at the New York State Fairgrounds near Syracuse.

Steve Dunham

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is urging central New Yorkers to be patient as they wait for the coronavirus vaccine. He said all available appointments for the vaccine in Onondaga County are booked for the next week, whether it’s from the county or state run Points of Dispending (POD), or pharmacies.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

As the number of people eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine expands in New York state, so do the number of places it’s available in central New York. But supply will dictate how many people actually get the shot.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media File Photo

Body cameras have now been deployed to every uniformed officer in the Syracuse Police Department.  This is the end of a process that started almost four years ago.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon wants the state to streamline the hodgepodge of orange and yellow coronavirus zones that currently exist in the county.

WRVO Public Media

The Trump mob attack on the Capitol stunned the nation this week, and many are asking how it happened. That includes Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who was in the Capitol building when it was breached.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Oneida County officials are rallying resources as they begin vaccinating individuals for COVID-19.

Oneida County Government Facebook

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Picente announced the test results Tuesday, noting he has not experienced any symptoms yet.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County wants to help residents in assisted living facilities get vaccinated for COVID-19. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said most of the nursing home residents in the county have already received their first COVID vaccinations. What worries him are the assisted living facilities that haven’t received the vaccine yet.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

The Empire State Trail is now complete in New York state. It includes 750 miles of hiking and biking trails from New York City to Canada, and Albany to Buffalo. That includes linking one of the biggest gaps in the trail in central New York.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media File Photo

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko said his history as a moderate Republican will be in play as Congress begins its 117th session in Washington. Katko expects more sway from moderates and his reputation will be a positive.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Officials are suggesting central New Yorkers limit their New Year’s Eve activities this year. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said the safest way to celebrate is to stick with the people you live with.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

December has been hard on central New York. It’s been the deadliest month from COVID-19 in Onondaga County since the pandemic started almost ten months ago, and one rural county is asking people to be extra careful to avoid spreading of the virus.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

Syracuse-area state Sen. Rachel May is disturbed by the uptick of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes as part of the current coronavirus surge in central New York and New York state. As head of the Senate Aging Committee, she is pushing an idea that might be able to help understaffed facilities.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A holiday season overshadowed by the pandemic takes a toll on our mental health; and that includes on children.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Onondaga County is hoping some preemptive testing for COVID-19 at local senior living facilities will lead to fewer hospitalizations.

Congressman John Katko Facebook

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said there are a lot of items for central New York in the $900 billion COVID relief package passed in Washington this week.

Tom Magnarelli

Now that the FDA has given the go-ahead to release the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, researchers want to determine if children can get vaccinated as well. Upstate Medical University is looking for young volunteers to take part in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, noting the earlier studies of the vaccine didn’t include children.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Holiday travel continues taking a hit as the recent surge in COVID-19 cases continues. AAA of Western and Central New York expects almost a third fewer travelers this holiday season, compared to last year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

There’s no funding for local governments in the latest aid package, soon to be passed by Congress. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon continues to fume about the way local governments have been left out of the funding loop.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media File Photo

The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, will undertake a comprehensive study of the failure of the pre-trial release system and the use of electronic ankle monitors. Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) pushed for the review, which could be the first step to revamping a system that has been responsible for deadly failures.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The private sector is helping Onondaga County beef up its contact tracing efforts.

Ellen Abbott

Holiday lights could be one way to climb out of the holiday depression and anxiety brought on by COVID-19. One central New York psychiatric expert said stringing more lights can only help everyone’s mood.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

A very deadly day from COVID-19 was reported by Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon on Wednesday. He said 18 people died over a 24-hour period; six in hospitals, the rest in nursing homes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said he knows the vaccines are on their way; with front-line hospital workers possibly rolling up their sleeves as soon as Tuesday. Nursing home residents could begin getting the two-shot regimen later this week. The federal government is working with local pharmacies to distribute the vaccines in those nursing homes. Beyond that, McMahon said distribution of the vaccine to the rest of the population will be a big undertaking.

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