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McMahon says to limit New Year’s Eve celebrations: ‘It’s not worth it’

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

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.

Coronavirus numbers have been falling the past few weeks, but local hospitals are still packed with patients. And the wild card is a potential Christmas surge that won’t show itself until next week, according to McMahon.

“If we have a peak in cases, it means our hospitalizations are going to get busier, that’s not good,” McMahon said. “And if there’s another peak from New Year’s, we’re asking for problems. So I think people should be cautious. It’s not worth it.”

McMahon said local hospitals are very stressed right now, with staffing shortages looming, if there’s another surge in cases. State statistics show gatherings in private homes continue to be the biggest source of coronavirus spread.

Some record COVID-19 numbers are being reported in central New York, as a December surge of the coronavirus continues. Oswego County has logged the largest number of daily positive COVID tests, at 85. Oneida County had its highest number of COVID cases for a single day, at 317. In Onondaga County, the largest county in the region, the number of new cases has leveled off after a peak a few weeks ago. But officials note the county passed the 20,000 case number this week; with 10,000 of those positive tests in the last 31 days alone.

In the meantime, the vaccination process for COVID-19 in Onondaga County is moving ahead. County Executive McMahon said the county will have vaccinated at least 1,100 individuals this week. He emphasized the state determines who’s vaccinated first and in what order. At this point, frontline health care workers are prioritized, as well as staff and residents in congregate care facilities, like nursing homes. McMahon said vaccinations are happening now in a staggered fashion in one location.

"You get your first responders and people who deal with the virus every day vaccinated so they can’t get it,” McMahon said. “So they continue to treat the sick. And the other piece is the quantity of the vaccine available right now. I think you’ll see more expanded phases at the end of January. And then certainly you’re going to see larger vaccination operations throughout the community.”

He said the county currently has the capacity to vaccinate 700 individuals a day. He expects that new pods will open up and the county will be vaccinating thousands of people daily. He said people need to be patient waiting for their turn.

"We understand the anxiousness,” McMahon said. “This is exciting, we can crush this virus with these tools, and we will. But there is a process.”