County meetings closed to public
In light of the increasing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the legislatures for Cortland and Tompkins counties have closed their March meetings to the public — although they can be viewed online — and Cortland County has moved up its meeting.
The Cortland County Legislature scheduled a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday to conduct business that would have been conducted on March 26. The potential for disruptions to county operations was cited as the reason for the date change.
In response to the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an order suspending the requirement of the state Open Meetings Law to allow for public meetings without permitting public access to those meeting rooms.
Both legislatures are encouraging the public to view their meetings and comment.
The public can watch Cortland County Legislative sessions on-line at cortlandcountyny.iqm2.com. Meetings are recorded and also live-streamed.
The regularly scheduled meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday may be viewed and listened in real-time and as archived through the county’s website, at the Legislature meeting portal tompkinscountyny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx.
Comments on the Cortland County Legislature’s meetings can be emailed to email@example.com while comments to the Tompkins County Legislature can be sent to Legislature@tompkins-co.org.
Tompkins Co. announces case
The Tompkins County Health Department announced Saturday that the state Health Department had confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the county.
The infected person was described only as a member of the Ithaca College community who is in mandatory isolation at home after becoming symptomatic on March 5, right before the start of Ithaca College’s spring break.
A sample tested positive for COVID-19 at the state’s state Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany. The sample has been sent to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation. The individual has been in isolation since the samples were collected for testing.
County Health Department public health nurses conducted the contact investigation and are now in daily contact with anyone identified as possibly being exposed to this person on March 5 or later. The nurses will continue to evaluate whether any further steps such as self-quarantine or testing are necessary.
Hospital opens triage line
Upstate University Hospital has opened a triage line for the sole purpose of answering Central New Yorker’s questions about COVID-19. The phone line will take calls daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 315-464-3979. The line is meant for area residents who have coronavirus-related questions, those showing possible symptoms, or someone who may have had exposure to someone diagnosed with a positive case of COVID-19.
Tops chain cuts hours of stores
Tops supermarkets that are normally open around the clock, including the one on Route 281 in Cortlandville, are scaling back hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. to restock and continue to maintain the increased sanitation levels in its stores.
These revised hours will be in effect until further notice.
TC3 extends spring break
Tompkins Cortland Community College has announced another change to its spring break schedule resulting from concerns over coronavirus.
The college will not have classes at all this week, extending its spring break for a full two weeks before reopening with online/remote learning on March 30. The college will be open for staff and students, but to reduce density, the main campus in Dryden will be closed to visitors starting today.
All non-instructional staff should report to work as usual. The residence halls and campus services continue to be open and available for students. More details and updates are on the campus website at www.tompkin scortland.edu/coronavirus.
Primary petition process changes
In an effort to keep New Yorkers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed an executive order temporarily modifying election procedures to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The executive order suspends the candidate petitioning process — effective 5 p.m. Tuesday — for the June primaries for Congressional, state Senate, Assembly and judicial races.
It modifies the signature requirements for ballot access; candidates will only need to collect 30 percent of the statutory threshold. For Congress, candidates would need 375 signatures rather than 1,250. For State Senate, candidates would need 300 signatures rather than 1,000. For Assembly, candidates would need 150 signatures rather than 500.
C’ville offices close for now
The town of Cortlandville has closed its facilities to the public until April 14 due to concerns over the potential spread of coronavirus, Town Supervisor announced this morning.
The emergency declaration closes buildings to the public for anything other than emergency matters or court business, Williams said.
Homer shuts offices to public
The town and village of Homer have closed their offices to the public until further notice due to concerns over the potential spread of coronavirus.
Only emergency matters will be conducted in person, according to a news release from the municipalities. They said residents needing to conduct business with the town or village should do so by phone or email.
Homer village meetings will be conducted by conference call, said Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe. The number for the conference call was unavailable. Homer Town Court will proceed with its normal schedule.