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Politics and Government
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.

With central NY below tests needed to reopen, McMahon says they’ll hit goal by Wednesday

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Onondaga County Facebook
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the Central New York and North Country regions meet six out of seven metrics he has given for parts of the state to begin reopening some businesses by Friday. Both regions need to increase testing for the coronavirus. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said central New York will meet its testing goal this week. 

The region needs 775 new tests per day. The governor’s number has central New York at 647.

McMahon called it a technicality glitch. He said the region’s number should be higher, and the problem has been a lag in getting the correct testing numbers from the lab, to the county health department and then, to the governor.

“Obviously, pending tests are not included in their data,” McMahon said. “Is that the mix-up? Is that what’s slowing things down with the data when the governor gets a report?”

McMahon said he knows they’ll meet the requirement based on the governor’s recent mandate that nursing home employees be tested twice a week. McMahon said there are nearly 5,000 nursing home employees in the county alone, meaning they need to produce 10,000 tests.

“Why don’t we just attest every day, right now, how many tests were done at each site?” McMahon said. “We get that information every day. That’s what we’re going to do. We hope the state is going to use that as the metric.”

McMahon said the region will hit the average number it needs by Wednesday. Industries slated to reopen in phase one include construction, agriculture, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail with curbside pick-up.

Universal testing

This week, Onondaga County is opening up its coronavirus triage testing site to anyone who wants a test, regardless of if they have symptoms. The universal testing will be conducted at the Syracuse Community Health Center during normal business hours. McMahon said it’s part of the county’s proactive testing strategy.

“There’s a need to do more and more proactive testing with these state mandates as part of restart,” McMahon said. “We’re going to try to do this surgically the best we can. You’ll see broad based testing, but also strategic testing too, so that we can make sure we're trying to find hidden pockets of the virus.”

The county will also have a mobile testing site on Syracuse’s west side later this week.    

Deaths continue to climb

McMahon said six more county residents died in the last day from COVID-19. Four were in area hospitals, two were from county nursing homes. This brings the total number of deaths in hospitals to 51, and in nursing homes to 24. The total number of deaths in the county is up to 75. There are now 1,394 positive cases in the county, up 29 from yesterday. 55 people are hospitalized, 13 are in critical condition.