UPDATE 4:18 P.M., MONDAY —The Tompkins County Health Department announced in a release Monday afternoon that they had been informed of a second individual testing positive for COVID-19.
In a release Monday afternoon, TCHD said they had been notified of a second positive test. The individual has been in isolation since the samples were collected for testing. TCHD public health nurses have begun a contact investigation to determine if there were any additional exposures.
“Tompkins County now has its second positive case of COVID-19. While we continue to prepare to limit the community spread of this virus, we want to assure residents that we are working closely with local agencies to mitigate future exposure,” stated Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director.
Read our full story here: Tompkins County a second individual test positive
UPDATE 10:52 A.M., MONDAY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced sweeping restrictions Monday aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.
The restriction will limit gatherings to no more than 50 people, restaurants may only offer take-out or delivery service as well as the closure of all bars, gyms, and movie theaters and casinos, as of 8 p.m. Monday.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are exempt from the new regulations.
“Our primary goal is to slow the spread of Coronavirus so that the wave doesn’t crash our healthcare system,” Cuomo said on Twitter shortly after the announcement. “Social distancing is the best way to do that. I have called on the federal (government) to implement nationwide protocols, but in their absence, we are taking this on ourselves.”
While this will spell trouble for several local watering holes, Cuomo did say that by 5 p.m., Monday, the State Liquor Authority will provide guidance to business, allowing them to sell items that they would sell at their in-house bar off-site for take-out or delivery.
“We’ve done a lot with wineries and breweries in new york and we want to make sure we protect them,” said Cuomo.
Mayor Svante Myrick announced shortly after noon on Monday that city hall would be closing to the public, but residents would still have access to most services online.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the public will no longer be allowed in City Hall or any other city facility,” Myrick said in a statement. “This will be effective immediately. This step will help slow the transmission of the virus, and buy our medical community the time it needs to prepare.”
The move comes in light on another decision handed down by Andrew Cuomo on Monday: all municipal governments needed to reduce in-building staffing by 50%, sending home all non-essential personnel to work remotely.
Myrick says that city staff is working to hold regularly scheduled meetings online in some capacity. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing for the suspension of open meeting laws requiring meetings to be open to the public. Some, but not all of the City of Ithaca’s board and committee meetings are broadcast online.
The Tompkins County Legislature’s meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, will be closed to the public. The meeting will be broadcast online and on public access as normal. Those wishing to submit public comments may do so by email here.
County Sheriff Derek Osborne announced that administrative offices would be closing and that the sheriff’s department would not be accepting in-person payments and residents will be unable to access pistol permit transactions, Sheriff Identifications, Background Checks and records transactions. Eviction proceedings have also been suspended state-wide.
Some changes have been made at the Tompkins County Jail, as well.
“To protect our corrections staff and inmates, we have suspended inmate contact visitation within the Tompkins County Jail. Non-essential professional visitors will also not be permitted into the jail for group meetings,” said Sheriff Derek Osborne is a statement Sunday. “To reduce the negative impacts this may cause to our inmates and their families, we have worked with our inmate phone service provider to provide each inmate with a limited number of free phone calls.”
Osborne’s statement also states that the jail has undertaken new cleaning procedures and that, of the 41 inmates currently being held, none have displayed symptoms and all new intakes are being held separately from the general jail population until they can be examined by a medical professional.
The cancelation and closure list is still being updated below. Please continue to send announcements to firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE 1:22 P.M. SUNDAY —Residents across Tompkins County are scrambling to deal with the announcement Friday that schools would be closed for the next month as events are canceled and business capacities have been halved.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a press conference Sunday afternoon, called on the Trump administration to active Army Corp of Engineers resources to help identify and convert existing infrastructure to help meet medical needs. He also gave updated numbers, with New York’s total number of cases hitting 729, and deaths now at 3. As of Sunday afternoon, cases in Tompkins County remain at 1.
Cinemopolis has made the decision to close its doors for the next month in response to the virus, according to a statement Saturday evening.
“This decision has been reached after much deliberation and in acknowledgment of the theater’s role as a regional destination. Cinemapolis, which draws customers from a 50-mile radius and beyond, is a community gathering place with regular high-volume foot traffic,” said Brett Bossard, executive director of Cinemopolis. “Despite having recently implemented precautionary measures including increased sanitation and reduced seating capacity, cinema leadership believes the best course of action at this time is a temporary closure. By voluntarily closing, Cinemapolis is prioritizing the health and safety of customers, staff, and the community at large, including vulnerable populations.”
The Ithaca City School District is also reminding parents that meals for their children that may have usually been provided by the school, will still be available for pick up.
Meals will be available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., in the parking lots and bus loops at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, Caroline Elementary School, DeWitt Middle School, Enfield Elementary School, Lehman Alternative Community School (LACS) and South Hill Elementary School.
Cornell University continues to muscle towards online instruction, publishing fresh policies on Sunday regarding student move-outs, resources for international students and guidance for employees being switched to remote work.
“The university remains open, but units across the university are in the process of finalizing their remote work plans. Those plans must be implemented no later than Friday, March 20,” the university said in a statement Monday.
The list of new resources includes:
- Guidance on the move to online instruction, academic policies, materials and support.
- Instructions for the move-out process, including check-out deadlines, storage and parking.
- Additional resources for international students and scholars.
- Guidance on financial matters for students.
- Workplace guidelines and remote work plans.
- Guidance for laboratories and research facilities.
Over on South Hill, Ithaca College is letting employees take Monday without using sick time or days off, in light of the county’s emergency declaration and school closings.
“Employees who typically would not be able to work from home should not feel obligated to report to campus on Monday, March 16. You will continue to receive your regular pay and not have to use Paid Time Away while we develop further operational plans for individual units. Employees who are currently able to perform their duties from home should do so beginning Monday, or as soon thereafter as possible. All employees should be in communication with their supervisors about their plans for next week,” reads a note to staff from Friday evening.
The school says it will put out a Frequently Ask Questions page for employees on Monday, March 16.
UPDATE 11:18 A.M. SATURDAY — The Tompkins County Health Department says that there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Tompkins County.
“While this is the first case of COVID-19 in Tompkins County, we are prepared to respond to limit future exposures and community spread of the virus. We are looking to our community to take shared responsibility by practicing social distancing and helping each other during the weeks to come,” stated Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE —TCHD announces first case of virus in Tompkins
UPDATE 7:41 P.M. FRIDAY — Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino has declared a state of emergency for Tompkins County and schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 through April 12.
“Today we have had multiple conversations with local school district superintendents including Dr. Luvelle Brown and Dr. Jeff Matteson regarding public health concerns and community spread of this disease,” said Molino at a press conference Friday evening. “As a result, our public health director Frank Kruppa has recommended that public schools close to students to limit the spread of this virus in our community. To that end, I have decided to take pre-emptive steps to limit the impact to our community by declaring a state of emergency to address this public health crisis.”
Officials did reiterate that there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins County, though Molino did say that, based on the how the disease as spread throughout the country, that “It appears inevitable that we will have a case in the future.”
The emergency declaration releases funding, suspends procurement requirements and makes it possible for the county to request emergency funds from the state and federal authorities in the future.
“This has been a rapidly moving situation. All of our schools have started to have continuity operations discussions with their faculty and staff,” said TST BOCES Superintendent Jeff Matteson. “They were still ongoing, some of them have more concrete plans, but they’re all in development and we’re still going to be in communication with all our faculty and staff.”
Meals will still be available for any student, Monday through Friday from 8 to 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. to 12:15. p.m. in the parking lots and bus loops at six locations:
- Beverly J. Martin Elementary School
- Caroline Elementary School,
- DeWitt Middle School
- Enfield Elementary School
- Lehman Alternative Community School
- South Hill Elementary School
If you do not have access to transportation or cannot leave your home, call 2-1-1 to arrange food delivery.
Details will be available at each school in print and on the ICSD website: www.ithacacityschools.org.
Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa said that discussions between Tompkins’ scholastic leadership would continue and the situation would be evaluated as it changed.
There were lingering questions regarding child care, which will see a boom in demand, as most businesses remain open and work weeks have largely carried on as usual.
“We are making this announcement tonight in hope that folks will plan for Monday,” said ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown. “Now is an important time for our community to come together, talk about the young people that are going to need child care.
Thursday, March 12—
TOMPKINS COUNTY — Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 climbed to 421, according to the New York State Department of Health, as Presidents Donald Trump announces a federal state of emergency. As of 4:45 p.m., on Friday, Tompkins County still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Governor Cuomo announced at a press conference Thursday that all gatherings of 500 or more people are now banned and venues with capacities below 500 will have their capacities cut in half, all in an effort to cut down on density, says the Governor. A wave of closings and event cancelations followed, with local theatres postponing shows and political campaigns suspending in-person events.
Places with capacities lower than 500, like restaurants and bars, are having their capacities cut in half, a blow for local businesses already set to suffer the economic losses stemming from local college students leaving town early.
Wegmans has also announced that overnight hours would be reduced at several of their locations across New York state to clean and restock, as shoppers continue to stockpile essentials.
Cornell University announced on Friday afternoon that they were accelerating their plans to suspend classes and transition to online instruction.
While TCAT, most heavily used by Cornell students, has not announced changes to its schedule, they have announced that service will be changing. Those schedule changes should come next week.
As of 4:45 p.m. Friday, the Tompkins County Health Department says there are still 15 people pending tests, but the number of individuals in quarantine and being monitored has climbed to 52.
TCHD also announced a press conference set for 6:30 p.m. with Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino, Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa, TST BOCES District Superintendent Jeff Matteson and ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown.
Ithaca City Hall is closed to the public
The Greater Ithaca Activities Center is closed to the public until further notice. All senior and boxing programming has been canceled.
The Sciencenter has announced it will be closed to the public until further notice.
Ithaca Children’s Garden is closed until further notice and all ICG educational programs are canceled through April 12, in alignment with the Ithaca City School District closure.
The History Center Exhibit Hall & Local Research Library are closed to the public and staff will revisit the re-opening on April 14, depending on recommendations from local health officials.
Effective as of 5 p.m., March 13, both the Museum of the Earth and the Cayuga Nature Center, will be closed to the public through April 3, 2020.
All events scheduled at Hangar Theatre has postponed all live events during the remainder of the month of March. Decisions for spring programming will be made by March 25 or as the situation evolves.
Hangar Theatre Company March 16 Annual Meeting Postponed to March 30, will be held virtually. Details to follow.
Foodnet Meals on Wheels 2020 Mac ‘n Cheese Bowl fundraiser, set for March 21, has been canceled.
The Tom Paxton and The DonJuans’ show, scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, at the Hangar Theatre is being postponed to Wednesday, September 9th, 2020. All tickets for the original date will be honored for the new date. If you cannot make the new date, please contact Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/
Antoine Dufour and Pierre Bensusan shows at the Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts, scheduled for April 4 and 21, respectively, have been canceled.
Ithaca Underground’s Naked Noise #11, scheduled for Saturday, April 4, has been postponed.
Ithaca Underground’s R.A.P. Ferreira with special guests Kaila Chare and J.J. Wølfe scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th at The Haunt, has been canceled. Refunds for online purchases will be made automatically; all other buyers should contact their point of purchase.
Tompkins County Public Library’s public screening of WSKG’s “Chasing the Dream” scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, has been canceled. It is not yet clear if the event will be rescheduled at a later date.
The Kiwanis Club of Ithaca’s Officer of the Month award ceremony has been canceled for this month.
Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service’s Dancing for Life, originally scheduled for March 21, will be rescheduled for the spring.
Ithaca Fishing and Conservation Day 2020 at Boynton Middle School on Saturday, March 21, has been canceled.
Ithaca Shakespeare Company Auditions, scheduled for March 28 and March 29, will be held virtually. Please visit ithacashakespeare.org to for details and to sign up.
Kitchen Theatre Company has canceled all performances of Catch As Catch Can.
The League of Women Voters of Tompkins County has canceled all local events for the next two months.
Southworth Library in Dryden will be closed from March 16 to April 13. All previously checked-out items will be extended to May 1.
Tompkins County Public Library
TCPL will be closed Saturday, March 14 through Monday, April 13, in conjunction with Tompkins County school closings.
Colleges and Universities
Cornell University is suspending all instruction for 3 weeks. Online instruction will begin on April 6 and continue through the rest of the spring semester, according to an announcement from President Pollack Friday.
Ithaca College will move classes online and extend spring break by a week, President Shirley Collado said in a letter to the campus community late Wednesday.
Tompkins-Cortland Community College will begin spring break on Monday, March 16. The college will be moving all classes to online instruction when students return from spring break, after an announcement from the governor on Wednesday that all SUNY schools will be making the switch. Students are scheduled to return to classes, though they will be held online, on March 30.
- Tompkins-Cortland Community College’s resource page can be viewed here.
- Our Coverage can be found here.
Tompkins County School Districts – All schools in Tompkins County are closed through April 12.
Ithaca City School District beginning March 12, ICSD is canceling all non-scholastic events until at least April 17. This includes any large indoor event (ICSD or otherwise), and non-ICSD events/meetings held on our campuses.
Trumansburg Central School District has canceled a trip scheduled for students and faculty for travel to New York City for participation at the United Nations. Additional academic trips continue to be evaluated on a case by case basis. At this time, TCSD is not canceling or rescheduling any athletic travel.
Groton Central School District has canceled their Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast fundraiser which was scheduled for March 14, and suspending all field trips outside of New York state. Anyone who bought tickets to the pancake breakfast will have their money refunded.
Dryden Central School District has not made any cancelations, but is asking parents to share their thoughts on possible future action through the online Parent Thought Exchange. The exchange will be open until Monday, March 16.
Lansing Central School District has canceled school for all students on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17. Elementary school parent-teacher conferences will still be held in the afternoon on March 16th. Additionally, faculty and staff will still be expected to work, as LCSD provides them with the necessary training and time to prepare for a longer duration closing it be necessary.
Childcare and all afterschool activities will be canceled on Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th.
Newfield Central School District has postponed the Varsity Boys Basketball game at the SRC Arena indefinitely.
[Other closures, cancelations and announcements]
THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY, CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES