McMahon on testing metric holding CNY back from reopening: 'We've met the mandate'

May 13, 2020

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says central New York is ready to start reopening Friday, but the New York state hasn't given the okay just yet.

Every region of the state has to meet seven metrics in order to reopen. The state have given four regions, the Southern Tier, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley and the North Country, the okay to start reopening.

The state says central New York meets six of the seven metrics.

Where the region falls short, according to the state, is testing. The state says each region needs to have the capacity to test 30 people for every 1,000 residents in the region every day. For central New York, that's 775 tests each day. The state says central New York, as of Wednesday, is testing 709 people.

McMahon said the state has been using data that is days behind.

"This has been a data driven process by the state, it has been by the county," McMahon said. "We've met the mandates."

Over the last seven days, Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cayuga and Cortland counties have tested nearly 6,000. That's an average of 845 tests per day. McMahon said that average will go up over the next few days, as the region does even more testing. He's confident the state will give the region the okay to start reopening on Friday.

For McMahon, now the important part is talking with the region's businesses to get them ready to reopen.

"Now we can start to focus in on communication with the business community and the consumers about what's open, how to do it, how to operate safely, what we're going to regulate, and certainly we're going to take our regulatory authority seriously," McMahon said.

More testing means more positive cases, more deaths

McMahon said over 1,000 tests cam back Tuesday, and there were 63 new positive cases, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 1,488. Three more people in the county died of COVID-19 in the last day, bringing the total number of deaths to 82. Two of the deaths were in hospitals, one was in a nursing home. 56 people are currently hospitalized, 15 in critical condition.