Syracuse, NY – Covid-19 cases in Onondaga County today shot to their highest level in more than six weeks, according to figures released by County Director Ryan McMahon.
The county reported 396 recently confirmed cases today. The last time a single-day total was so high was on February 4, when there were 434 cases.
McMahon said the increase in cases is likely due to the transmission of a new version of the omicron variant, known as BA.2. It is thought to be 40% to 80% more contagious than omicron, which was already up to four times as contagious as the original new coronavirus.
The number of county residents admitted with Covid-19 dropped slightly, and so did they on intensive care. There are 51 Covid patients at local hospitals today, down from 57 on Tuesday. ICU patients dropped from 11 to 10, McMahon said on Twitter.
No one died from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, he said.
Hospital admissions and deaths lag behind cases; it can take someone two weeks or more to get sick enough to be hospitalized, and longer than to die of the disease.
Central New York has come a long way, the highest proportion of reported cases in the state. The region’s seven-day average on Tuesday was 35.2 cases per. 100,000 inhabitants, more than three times the state average of 11.4 cases, the state reported today.
That gap has grown rapidly. On Friday, CNY’s rate was 25 cases per. 100,000 people, and the state was 10.
Local and state officials have not been able to explain why the region’s case rate is so much higher than the state’s. They cite the increase in the BA.2 variant and the easing of masking and other measures, but these have happened across the country, not just in central New York.
It is also not only that CNY is doing more tests: the region also leads the state in the percentage of tests that are positive. CNY’s exchange rate on Tuesday was 7.5%, while the state average was just below 2%.
Even with 35 cases per. 100,000, the county is still well below the rates seen below the peak of the omicron rise in January. The rates per. 100,000 people topped 370, almost 10 times as tall as they are now.
The region consists of Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego county. About 60% of the population lives in Onondaga County.
Reported cases do not include the increasingly popular home tests unless people reported the results to the health department.
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