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Parts of Onondaga County enter COVID-19 yellow zone amid rising cases

File photo of a COVID-19 testing site at the Walmart parking lot in East Syracuse earlier this year. (Photo credit:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that parts of Onondaga County are now designated a yellow zone micro-cluster in the state’s effort to combat rising cases of the coronavirus.

A map released Monday afternoon has the city of Syracuse; towns of Salina, Clay, and Lysander; and villages of East Syracuse, Solvay, Liverpool, and Baldwinsville shaded in yellow to designate the zone.

Portions of Monroe and Erie counties in Western New York are also now state-designated yellow zones.


“Yellow zones have certain restrictions,” Cuomo said during a late morning conference call with reporters.

Those restrictions include a 25-person maximum capacity on mass gatherings (down from 50); a four-person limit per table for dining (down from 10); and 20 percent weekly testing of in-person students and faculty in schools. Bars and restaurants located in the yellow zones must close at midnight. Attendance at houses of worship is limited to 50-percent capacity (no change).

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh reacted to the yellow-zone designation for Syracuse in a statement issued Monday afternoon.

“The yellow-level COVID-19 microcluster designation is a serious matter for the City of Syracuse. It brings with it new requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19…. These steps are needed now to avoid even stronger restrictions. More important, they are essential to protect health and save people’s lives,” Walsh said.

The yellow-zone steps are effective Wednesday in the city of Syracuse, Walsh noted.

The micro-cluster strategy seeks to “tackle COVID-19 hot spots that may come with the fall and winter weather.”

The strategy — announced Oct. 17 — is predicated on three principles: refined detection, specific and calibrated mitigation, and focused enforcement.

Over the past 10 days, parts of Onondaga County have had 7-day average positivity rates above 3 percent and cases per 100,000 and new daily hospital admissions have increased, “meeting the metrics for a yellow-zone designation,” Cuomo’s office said.

 The positive-testing rate in all focus areas under the state’s micro-cluster strategy is 4.32 percent, while the rate outside the focus zone areas is 2.69 percent, per the state.

Within the focus areas, 8,899 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 384 positives. In the remainder of the state, not counting these focus areas, 102,517 test results were reported, yielding 2,760 positives.


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