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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.

Onondaga County sees 22nd death from COVID-19; elective surgeries to resume

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WRVO News (file photo)

Onondaga County has had another death due to COVID-19. County Executive Ryan McMahon said Tuesday a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions is the latest victim of the disease. There have been a total of 22 deaths in the county. 667 county residents have tested positive as of Tuesday.

But with infection rates starting to slow, county officials are starting to play offense against the coronavirus. McMahon said as the number of active cases fall and the number of individuals recovering increases, the county has started testing asymptomatic people for the virus, especially in the county’s most vulnerable communities.

The county has already started testing nursing home and assisted living employees, and that will expand to senior living facilities this week.

"For the first time we’ll be able to see what kind of asymptomatic cases we may have and we know that we’re eliminating risk to our vulnerable populations by doing this," McMahon said. "So we’re happy we’re in this phase of the process."

McMahon has also lifted the two-week-old voluntary shelter-in-place restrictions. He said it's worked, but said the community must continue to stay its course to make sure number of cases return.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's order allowing elective surgeries in upstate hospitals was welcome news in Syracuse Tuesday. McMahon said some elective surgeries will start next week at Syracuse hospitals, and while not as important as a global pandemic, he said people still need care.

"These elective surgeries deal with public health as well. Having people who are sick on the sidelines for a week or two is one thing. But going in to two or three months can lead to very very serious things," he said. "We're happy the governor loosened up these regulations."