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McMahon discusses another booster clinic, community testing site, and concern about COVID-19 clusters

By Eric Reinhardt (


Workers sign in people seeking a COVID-19 vaccination shot at the Oncenter on Feb. 26. Onondaga County will hold a Pfizer booster shot clinic in the same location on Thursday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Onondaga County will host another COVID-vaccine booster clinic, is planning for a new community-testing location, and has concerns about virus clusters in businesses and nursing homes.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon shared details during a Friday afternoon COVID-19 briefing.

Cluster reports

The county executive expressed concern about the cluster reports coming to his office. He said virus clusters are common in residential settings, noting that 34 percent of Friday’s cases were household contacts.

“But you do see small clusters in businesses, in workplaces. So, we’re going to speak to different sectors in different business groups and organizations and just walk through what the risks are as things move forward. Quarantines are disruptive to everybody, including the employers, and so, those are conversations we’re going to having with the business community [in the week ahead] about potential mitigation that they can implement in their businesses as well,” McMahon said.

In his remarks, McMahon also said he’s aware of two clusters in nursing homes.

“And why I highlight that is because history tells us when this happens, we’re going to have really bad outcomes,” he said.

He didn’t name the affected nursing homes, but McMahon believes it serves as a reminder that the facilities have mask mandates, which have been in place for a while. The delta variant, he noted, is “a little bit different” than what the public was dealing with in the early months of the pandemic.


Booster clinic

Onondaga County will have another Pfizer booster clinic in partnership with Kinney Drugs next Thursday at the Oncenter from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The link is on the county’s website:


Community-testing location

McMahon also announced a new community-testing location in the week ahead in partnership with Quadrant Biosciences.

“We’re just finalizing the logistics on the location right now, but this will be a symptomatic-testing location. Think about what we did at the F-Shed [at the CNY Regional Market] last year so that we can continue to meet the demand,” McMahon said, noting he’ll announce the location soon.


COVID-19 data

The county had two COVID deaths on Thursday — a man in his 70s and another one in his 80s, both with underlying conditions. McMahon didn’t indicate if those who died were vaccinated or not.

The county’s website has a graphic indicating the vaccination status of COVID-19 hospital and community deaths since Aug.1. The chart indicates that as of Oct. 5, 64.6 percent of those who died were unvaccinated, 31.2 percent were fully vaccinated, and 4.2 percent were partially vaccinated.

McMahon reported 82 people are currently in a Syracuse hospital with COVID-19, including 21 in the intensive-care unit (ICU). Two-thirds of the people currently in an ICU aren’t vaccinated.

The county executive also reported 261 new cases on Friday He noted that cases from Monday through Thursday increased slightly to 1,129 from 1,107 cases in the same period last week, marking a slowdown in recent infection growth.

“The growth has slowed down. We’ll see how we do over the weekend to see if we’ve actually flattened or not,” McMahon said. “We’re watching that closely as we look at the weather, shifting eventually, going to indoors more and we look at potential mitigation regulations that we may consider … We really need this thing to flatten while we have good weather.”



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