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McMahon: No coronavirus cases in Onondaga County, but a dozen under quarantine after visiting China

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon on Wednesday addressed a gathering in his office while providing an update on local efforts to deal with the coronavirus, although McMahon noted that the county doesn’t have any cases of the virus as of Wednesday morning. Other officials making remarking during the briefing included (from left to right) Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta;, Onondaga County Commissioner of Emergency Management Dan Wears, and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says Onondaga County doesn’t have any cases of the coronavirus, as of Wednesday morning.

“But like many communities … the likelihood is at some point, we will have a case here in Onondaga County,” McMahon added.

However, he did mention that 12 individuals who had traveled to China are under quarantine.


“They do not have any symptoms and that’s why they’re quarantined,” Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Health Commissioner, said in explaining the situation. “Quarantine is [used] to watch that period when they’re asymptomatic. If they do have symptoms, they are in continuous dialogue with our nursing staff.”  

McMahon and Gupta were among the officials providing a late Wednesday morning update on local efforts to deal with the coronavirus. McMahon, Gupta, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, and Dan Wears, Onondaga County Commissioner of Emergency Management, spoke to local reporters and county officials who gathered at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center.

Over the last three days, McMahon says he’s learned more about the “challenge in front of us” and how communities are preparing for this.

“I certainly just want to reiterate this is not a time to panic,” McMahon “We are very, very well prepared in Onondaga County.”

That said, McMahon is encouraging the public to take the necessary precautions, such as visiting your doctor if you’re feeling sick, “as you normally would.”

For businesses and all organizations, McMahon encourages a review of your plans for “continuity of operations” and make sure they’re up to date in the event of a community spread of the coronavirus in the coming weeks and months.

“In terms of community spread, we will be reviewing this on a daily basis with our medical teams throughout the community as well as our emergency-management team,” said McMahon.

Onondaga County plans to update the Health Department’s website for continued information on the virus. Onondaga County’s website,, has a section on its home page with information and frequently asked questions for the public. McMahon also encourages the public to call 211 if they have any questions or concerns of an immediate nature.

Representatives from Crouse Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health, and Upstate University Hospital attended the announcement.

“We are known for our eds and our meds and certainly our meds are prepared for any challenge that is in front of us,” said McMahon. Eds and meds, short for educational institutions and medical providers, refer to the area’s hospitals and universities.

McMahon in Washington, D.C.

McMahon spent the last few days in Washington, D.C. meeting with county leaders and executives from across the country. They heard from the Atlanta, Georgia–based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from “top-ranking White House officials,” and were able review local plans for dealing with the virus.

“It was very, very helpful,” said McMahon.

He also noted that President Donald Trump met directly with the New York state delegation, which requested funding.

“And we’re very happy that both the President and later on [U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles] Schumer confirmed that there will most likely be a federal bill passed for $8 billion of funding … will be passed on to states,” said McMahon. The House of Representatives passed an $8.3 million emergency coronavirus package later in the day.

Walsh remarks

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh says he’s convened a city response team that is meeting regularly and will continue to until further notice.

“The team will continue to work very closely with the county,” Walsh said in his remarks.

City officials are also coordinating with its emergency responders at the police and fire departments to identify and prepare for the training and resources that they need to be prepared, Walsh noted.

Emergency management commissioner

Onondaga County Commissioner of Emergency Management Dan Wears called it a “very rapidly evolving situation” that the county is monitoring with the health department.

In his remarks, Wears said the county has a human needs task force that it can use in case of “any type of incident.”

“Their sole purpose is how we provide food, water, shelter, transportation, and mental health counseling to people in the community if it needed during an incident,” said Wears.

He also noted that emergency management is ready to support the county health department with the emergency operations center, if need be.

Wears also talked about the area’s first responders “who are most likely going to deal with this” on a first-hand basis.

“One of the things that we are actively engaged in is taking … information from the health department, [and] from the CDC and making sure that our first responders are aware and ready of what they might face in the community so they have as much information as possible to protect themselves as well as to protect the community and limit any type of spread,” said Wears.

Contact Reinhardt at


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