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

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 News (file photo)

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.

WRVO Public Media

The coronavirus surge just keeps getting worse in central New York. The numbers of cases and deaths from COVID-19 remain at high levels. In Onondaga County alone, there have been more than 400 new cases a day and more than a dozen deaths.

Upstate Medical University

Now that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is moving towards the approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, researchers want to determine if children can get vaccinated as well. The current move towards the Pfizer vaccine approval doesn’t include children. In response, Upstate Medical University in Syracuse is looking for young volunteers to take part in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) got the committee assignment he wanted as he prepares to return for a fourth term in Congress. 

Katko, a former federal prosecutor, has served in a number of roles on the House Committee on Homeland Security in his six years in Congress. When the next session of Congress begins in January, he’ll be the highest ranking Republican on the panel.

“I really have a passion for keeping this country safe and free from terrorism and free from crime, to the extent you can,” Katko said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The Walsh administration has been building up capacity for snow removal in the city of Syracuse the last several years. The pandemic may upend some of those strides, in what is often the snowiest city in the country.

The good news, according to Mayor Ben Walsh, is the city of Syracuse Department of Public Works (DPW) has ten shiny new plows to clear the streets this year.

"We just recently received ten new plows we were able to purchase through our capital plan,” Walsh said. “And that is going to significantly strengthen our fleet.”

WRVO News (file photo)

Onondaga County officials announced another 303 cases of COVID-19 Monday. Two people died in the last day, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 269.

WRVO Public Media

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said it’s important that Congress pass some sort of COVID relief bill before the new year. He sees signals that Speaker Nancy Pelosi might be willing to come to terms on a package that would boost the economy and health care system, as the nation faces a surge of COVID-19 patients.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Another record number of new cases of the coronavirus were reported in Onondaga County Thursday. 348 people tested positive for the virus, and six individuals died from COVID-19. There are some concerns, if you dig into the numbers.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Hospital capacity, and testing continues to be at the forefront of central New York’s fight against the most recent surge of COVID-19 cases. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO File Photo

Syracuse, like many other communities across the country, has seen an increase in shootings and homicides during the coronavirus pandemic. Police are hoping a new detail is cutting into that.

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