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After social distancing complaints, Syracuse removes basketball rims

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh at Onondaga County's daily news briefing.

According to 911 data, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said there have been a total of 50 calls related to social distancing complaints. At their Friday news briefing, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said the city had to take down the rims of basketball hoops at city parks because young people were playing basketball. 

He said the parks are still open, but all facilities and equipment are closed for use. That includes city golf courses, which don’t open until May 1, anyway.  

“If LeBron James and Tiger Woods can take some time off, so can you,” Walsh said. “Your game won’t suffer too much.”

Sheriff Gene Conway said they are looking for “cooperation not confrontation,” when law enforcement has to respond to people not social distancing, and will judge each situation on its own.  

It’s been almost two weeks since Onondaga County had its first positive case of coronavirus. The total number of positive cases now stands at 123, up 12 cases from Thursday. McMahon said it’s a decrease in the number of new positive cases they see each day.

“This is good,” McMahon said. “We’re getting more data in. This allows our health department to identify the positives, work with those families, quarantine those who need to be quarantined.”

Three hundred forty-nine people are in mandatory quarantine and isolation. That increases to over 400 people in quarantine if positive cases are included. Eighteen people are currently hospitalized. Twelve are in good condition. Six are in critical condition. Two people who were in the hospital have been discharged.

The amount of people getting tested at the Syracuse Community Health Center is staying flat at around 100 tests a day. As the curve of new cases flattens, McMahon said social distancing, starving out contact, is how to get the curve to bend.

“Then we can focus in at some point on what economic recovery looks like,” McMahon said. “That’s something we’re working on now. But that can’t be the focus yet. The health has to be the focus until we bend the curve.”  

McMahon also said he expects construction will continue on Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential construction to stop in New York State. McMahon said it has to be exempt because the metal structure being built on the roof is not secured.

“They’re still putting it up,” McMahon said. “We’re not going to stop construction and have 50 mph winds present another public health challenge.”

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.