Stock image of Cornell's Arts Quad

UPDATE 9:24 A.M. FEB. 10 –– The second Cornell student isolated after exhibiting symptoms for the 2019 novel coronavirus does not have the illness.

Tests conducted by health officials at Cornell and sent to the CDC for analysis returned a negative result on Sunday.

There continue to be no confirmed cases of the 2019  novel coronavirus in New York state at this time, and risk of exposure for Tompkins County residents and visitors remains low.

UPDATE 12:23 P.M. FEB. 7 –– The Cornell student who was in isolation after exhibiting symptoms for the novel coronavirus does not have the illness, although a second student has begun exhibiting symptoms and is awaiting test results.

The second student is currently in isolation while the CDC conducts testing.

In a statement from the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD), officials say the risk of exposure for Tompkins County residents and visitors remains low.

Investigations are being conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in conjunction with the Tompkins County Health Department.

The first student’s sample was sent to the CDC on Monday, after they began exhibiting symptoms over the weekend.

Ryan Lombardi, the vice president for student and campus life and Sharon McMullen, the assistant vice president of student and campus life for health and well-being said in a statement “we are grateful for this good news and for the expertise and compassion exhibited by the campus and community staff members who have been assisting this student.”

There continue to be no confirmed cases of the 2019  novel coronavirus in New York state at this time.

County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa told the Tompkins County Legislature on Tuesday that the threat from the common flu is much greater, and that precautions are the same.

Symptoms of novel coronavirus and influenza can be similar, including fever (above 100.4 F), along with cough and shortness of breath. The CDC reports that influenza activity is, and will remain, high for the next several weeks.

With this in mind, the CDC recommends preventive actions to reduce the risk of developing influenza and other respiratory illnesses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Earlier ––

ITHACA, N.Y. –– The Cornell University campus community was made aware Monday of a student in isolation after exhibiting symptoms that match the 2019 novel coronavirus.

In an email Monday evening, the university said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently processing laboratory tests from the student, and results could take up to a week to come back. The student, who lives off-campus, is currently in isolation and receiving care after exhibiting symptoms over the weekend.

In a statement from the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD), officials say the risk of exposure for Tompkins County residents and visitors remains low.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York state. Of 12 suspected cases in the state, 11 have come back negative and one is still pending.

Cornell is working with the TCHD to monitor the situation and an investigation is underway. Anyone who has had close contact with the individual will be contacted by health officials.

The news comes after Cornell University Provost Michael Kotlikoff sent a message to the campus community last week, barring Cornell-related undergraduate, graduate or professional student travel to mainland China until the university’s International Travel Advisory and Response Team (ITART) had removed China from an ‘elevated-risk destinations list.’

The email sent Monday from Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life and Sharon McMullen, the assistant vice president of student and campus life for health and well-being reads, “Cornell is an international community of scholars and we understand that many of you are worried not only about your own health and well-being, but also for that of your friends and family living abroad.”

The message from Lombardi and McMullen goes on to say, “it is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis, and we need to remember to care for one another and not make assumptions about others’ perceived symptoms or any characteristics of identity. This is a time for the Cornell community to support one another. Your compassion and empathy for each other makes a difference.”

The outbreak of coronavirus coincides with flu season in the U.S. Symptoms of novel coronavirus and influenza can be similar, including fever (above 100.4 F), along with cough and shortness of breath.

People who have recently traveled to China and have developed fever with respiratory symptoms within 14 days of travel or have had contact with someone who is confirmed to have novel coronavirus should seek medical care immediately.

As of Feb. 2, CDC and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection implemented additional health screenings for travelers entering the U.S. from China. TCHD will be notified of the return of any travelers from China to Tompkins County.

Any travelers from China will be quarantined and monitored by TCHD nurses for 14 days post departure from China. Quarantine means that even those who do not have symptoms are required to stay home away from others during the defined period to monitor their health status.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent novel coronavirus. CDC recommends preventive actions to reduce the risk of developing influenza and other respiratory illnesses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Cornell says they will continue to monitor and update the community as the situation evolves. For additional information about the coronavirus and steps that the university is taking to protect the health and safety of the community, please visit the Cornell University novel coronavirus website.

Additional resources can be found by contacting the TCHD at 607-274-6604 or go to www.tompkinscountyny.gov/health. Find us on Facebook @TompkinsPublicHealth and Twitter @TompkinsHealth.

Governor Cuomo has also announced a new hotline available for New Yorkers to call for information about the novel coronavirus at 1-888-364-3065.

More information can also be found at

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

NYS DOH: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Visit the CDC’s Traveler’s Health webpage for the latest travel health notices at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com