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First coronavirus death reported in Onondaga County

First coronavirus death reported in Onondaga County

Virus Outbreak Tennessee

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S.

An Onondaga County resident has died of the novel coronavirus — the first COVID-19 death reported in central New York's largest county. 

The individual was an "elderly hospitalized patient," according to the Onondaga County Health Department. More information about the deceased wasn't released. 

"We never wanted to deliver this news, but we knew this could be part of this process," Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said Tuesday. 

The first coronavirus-related death comes eight days after the first confirmed case of the virus in the county. As of Tuesday, there are 60 county residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. Eight people have been hospitalized, including three who are in critical condition. 

Forty-three of the 60 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus are under age 60. The oldest confirmed case is someone in their 80s. The youngest person with the virus is 16 years old. McMahon said the health department determined that eight cases are linked through a familial relationship. 

The city of Syracuse has 18 positive cases — the most of any municipality within the county. The towns of Clay and Salina each have eight cases. 

There are 206 people in mandatory isolation and quarantine. The county has received 1,333 test results, most of which have been negative for the coronavirus. But the number of confirmed cases continues to climb. 

"We knew as we did robust testing that we would get more positives," McMahon said. 

The health department reminded residents to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by washing their hands often, avoiding close contact with people who are ill, staying at home if you're sick and covering coughs and sneezes with tissues. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough, fever and difficulty breathing. If you experience symptoms, stay home and call your healthcare provider for guidance. If you don't have a doctor, call Upstate University Hospital's triage line at (315) 464-3979. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at

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