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Onondaga County reports 1st coronavirus death, says 8 are hospitalized, 3 critical

By Eric Reinhardt (


Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon (at podium) and Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Health Commissioner pictured during a recent coronavirus briefing at the Oncenter. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Onondaga County confirmed its first coronavirus-related death on Tuesday, and said eight more patients are hospitalized with the illness, including three in critical condition.

“I stand here with a heavy heart today … We’ve had our first death in our community related to the COVID-19 disease,” Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said to open his daily coronavirus briefing at the Oncenter.

“I am deeply saddened for the family of this individual who are experiencing this loss. This sad news proves how important it is to take measures to protect ourselves, our families, and our community,” Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Commissioner of Health, added in a statement. “This individual was an elderly hospitalized patient, so there are no risks of exposure to the general public. For reasons of medical privacy, the Department will not be releasing additional information.”

This is the second confirmed COVID-19 death in Central New York after a Madison County woman passed away Sunday.

Bethany Baptist Church exposure

At their briefing Tuesday Onondaga County officials also warned about possible community exposure to the virus at a Syracuse church.

An individual who attended Bethany Baptist Church at 149 Beattie St. on Sunday, March 15, has tested positive for COVID-19, the Onondaga County Health Department announced. Members of the public who were in the church building that day “may have been exposed.” The individual attended the 11 a.m. service that day, the department noted.

“All close contacts of the individual have been notified. Anyone who was in Bethany Baptist Church on March 15 should watch for symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing until Sunday, March 29, which would be the end of the 14 day incubation period,” Gupta said. “If symptoms do develop, stay home and call your doctor for further guidance about testing. If you are elderly, have underlying medical conditions, or are immunocompromised, call your doctor early even if your illness is mild. In an emergency call 911. If you have symptoms and do not have a doctor, call Upstate University Hospital’s Triage Line at (315) 464-3979 and you will be advised about testing.”

The warning comes after county officials had previously alerted the public about community exposure to COVID-19 at a DeWitt eyeglass center and a Solvay meat market in recent days.


County case count rises

Onondaga County now has 60 positive cases, up from 53 on Monday. Of those, 29 are female and 31 are male.

Three patients are under 19 (ages 16, 18, and 19); 13 are in their 20s; seven are in their 30s; nine in their 40s; 11 in their 50s; seven in their 60s; nine in their 70s; and one person in their 80s.

McMahon also broke down the cases by their geographic locations:

Syracuse – 18

Salina – 8

Clay – 8 (up from 6 on Monday)

Cicero – 5 (up from 4 on Monday)

Camillus – 4 (up from 3 on Monday)

Manlius – 3

Onondaga – 4

Lysander – 2

Pompey – 3 (up from 2 on Monday)

Skaneateles – 3

Geddes – 1

LaFayette – 1

The county is expecting to report more COVID-19 cases this week after a backlog of test results come back from the lab.       


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