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Coronavirus in Tompkins County

As of Tuesday the Tompkins County Health Department reported 32 confirmed COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) cases.  462 test results were pending, and of the 1,009 tested, 515 came have come back back negative according to a Wednesday update by the Tompkins County Health Department.  354 people in the County were being monitored in quarantine, and 526 had been released from quarantine.  State-wide there were 37,258 confirmed cases, There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Tompkins County.

For the foreseeable future the Lansing Star is checking the Tompkins County Health Department website regularly and updating county coronavirus statistics at the top of our front page within an hour of updates being posted.
In Lansing the Town Web Site was updated last weekend with a large graphic on the home page.  Click on the graphic and you are taken to a page with links to resources.  The Town Board meeting was broadcast live on Facebook.  The Town Board voted to install cameras in the courtroom last week in order to live stream and record public meetings not just for the Town Board, but for other boards such as the Planning and Zoning boards.  The Lansing schools closed March 14th.  Lansing School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso said Monday that the school campus will reopen April 13th unless Governor Cuomo mandates an earlier date.  Like all public officials, Pettograsso has stressed that the situation is fluid and anything can change on a day to day basis.  Monday's School Board meeting was online only, using Zoom web conferencing.

Lansing Town Web SiteClick the graphic on the Town of Lansing Web site and you are taken to a page with national and local coronavirus resources

For the latest statistics on quarantines and confirmed cases:
Tompkins County Health Department
New York State Health Department
Tompkins County Legislature also announced their meetings would be live on the Internet, but physically closed to the public.  On March 13th Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino declared a county-wide State of Emergency.  The Tompkins County Health Department explained that the county State of Emergency means:
  • Allows officials to obtain and purchase goods and services quickly. 
  • Assistance can be provided to municipalities and school districts. 
  • County operations will continue unchanged unless otherwise advised.
  • This declaration does not impact travel in Tompkins County.
  • This declaration allows the County to use funding with less restriction.
"I encourage residents to take precautions, especially those who are more at risk, as they continue daily activities. The EOC gives the County a structure to ensure emergency response and support agencies are working in coordination to meet the needs of our community," Molino said.

On March 17th the County Legislature announced, "In accordance with the executive order suspending the requirements of the Open Meetings Law, Committee meetings will be closed to in-person attendance by members of public. County staff and members of the public will be able to listen to meetings by utilizing Zoom conferencing.  The call-in number for this option will be available on Committee agendas as it is available."

Nation-wide the CDC reported yesterday there were 68,440 confirmed cases and 884 deaths from the coronavirus.  All 50 states have reported COVID-19 cases to the CDC.  New York State continues to have the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States with nearly ten times the numbers reported in New Jersey, which has the next highest number.  CNN reported 285 deaths in New York State as of yesterday.

In a March 17th Wallethub analysis New York ranked as the 7th most aggressive state against the coronavirus with California being the most agressive.  The analysis found that New York State ranks:
  • 9th in Tested Cases of COVID-19 per Capita
  • 12th in Share of Workers with Access to Paid Sick Leave
  • 6th in Public Healthcare Spending per Capita
  • 9th in Epidemiology Workforce per Capita
  • 22nd in Hospital Beds per Capita
  • 11th in At Risk Population – Chronically Ill
Cuomo announced last Friday which businesses, considered essential, will stay open and restrictions on other businesses, most of which have closed for the duration of what Cuomo is calling 'New York State on PAUSE'.  To keep themselves in the public eye, many businesses sending emails with updates on how they are handling the coronavirus, either where customers might congregate, or just how they are protecting their employees.  To mention a few:
  • A mobile drive-thru testing center tent operated by the Cayuga Medical Center has been set up in the parking lot at  Shops at Ithaca Mall
  • The Tompkins County Sheriff's Administrative Office closed, and suspended pistol permit transactions, Sheriff identifications, background checks, civil payments, requests for copies of reports, and eviction proceedings.
  • Inmate contact visitation within the Tompkins County Jail was suspended
  • TCAT reduced bus service due to reduced ridership. TCAT also announced fares would be waived from 3/20/20 through 4/9/20, and the number of riders on each bus to be restricted indefinitely
  • The Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management Department announced essential services such as the Recycling and Materials Management office, weigh station, and Recycling and Solid Waste Center will remain open, and added that Curbside recycling Food Scraps Recycling Drop Spots will continue as scheduled
  • Challenge Industries announced Tuesday that they have teams prepared to meet the increased demand for CDC- and EPA-compliant sanitation services
  • Grocery stores announced they are hiring temporary employees.  Tops announced it would be open from 6am to 10pm to allow restocking overnight, and established 'Senior Shopping Hours' for seniors 60 years of age and older from 6:00 – 7:30 am Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • UPS announced Saturday that its operations and The UPS Store® locations would remain open and pick up and delivery would continue, even in restricted areas
  • PRI announced Monday that Museum of the Earth and Cayuga Nature Center are providing online resources for children, parents, and teachers
  • Assembly (125th district) candidate Jordan Lesser announced his campaign website now includes a 'Coronavirus Information Center'
  • Monday Tompkins County Department of Social Services (DSS) along with St. John’s Community Services announced services for local homeless people, and measures being taken for social distancing at shelters
  • Local banks including Tompkins Trust and Visions FCU offered financial relief measures for customers in the way of special loan programs, and announced night drop boxes and ATMs would be available 24/7
  • The United Way of Tompkins County offered assistance for families
  • The Hangar and State Theatres postponed all performances scheduled in March
  • The Kitchen Theatre Company suspended a whole production of the play 'Catch As Catch Can'
  • The Sciencenter closed March 14th
  • Historic Ithaca and Significant Elements announced they would be closed to the public through Friday, March 27, but would be be available remotely
  • Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County closed and postponed its Spring Writes Literary Festival until Fall
  • The Ithaca Y closed
  • Catholic Charities suspended its Clothing Closet and Walk-Ins until mid-April
  • Finger Lakes ReUse Centers were closed to the public
  • Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services announced employees are working remotely and encouraged online communication
  • The Ithaca Farmer's Market announced it would be reopening its outdoor Steamboat Landing location

The Tompkins County Health Department advises that you stay informed and, "If you develop symptoms of illness including fever, cough, or trouble breathing, contact your healthcare provider. Call ahead to explain your symptoms."
  • People should not gather in groups outside of their homes, with the exception of essential workers.
  • Keep 6 feet distance between yourself and others.
  • Minimize in-person contact.
  • Limit all outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities that put you in close contact with people.
  • Social Distancing does not mean emotional isolation, check on friends, coworkers, neighbors through phone and text.
  • Wash hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Those at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, including older adults, those who are immune-compromised, or have a chronic medical condition, especially heart or lung disease, and diabetes, should avoid in-person contact with others.
“As the number of positive cases increase, social distancing must continue to be a community effort – one in which everyone plays a part,” said Public Health Director Frank Kruppa.
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