December 2, 2021

Coronavirus briefs 3/21

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Tompkins has 11 confirmed cases

Tompkins County reported Friday night its 11th confirmed case of coronavirus and the quarantine of 515 people. That is up from six cases confirmed and nearly 300 quarantined the previous day.

Cortland County has stopped publishing its figures online, but as of Friday afternoon the county reported no confirmed cases in a news release about the establishment of a new hotline.

Update: There have been confirmed cases in Cortland County.

County virus hotline starts

Cortland County in conjunction with County Emergency Management has established a phone bank to answer questions about COVID-19. The number is 607-756-3415.

Call this number for general questions regarding county services, and other information. Calls will be answered from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

This line will supplement the existing 211 number, which can also help individuals locate whatever services they may need As of Friday afternoon, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cortland County.

SUNY students get belongings

SUNY Cortland is allowing students to return to residence hall rooms to retrieve belongings left behind before growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic prompted the college to move classes online.

Students had been given nine days to pick up their things, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that a ban on all nonessential travel beginning Sunday night will limit the time available.

The college recommend that students follow the travel guidelines outlined by the governor Friday. Students who do not need items right away and do not wish to travel, or who are unable to travel to campus at this time, do not need to. The college will keep their property safe and arrange for them to come to campus at a later date.

Students and parents should continue to look for new information on the college’s COVID-19 resource and update page.

Homer schools amend plan

The Homer school district is making changes to its food distribution plan enacted this week in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

After analyzing the traffic through all five locations, the district’s leaders are making the following adjustments Monday:

• Addition of a Lake Como food pick up site. A school bus will be at the Lake Como Inn from 7 to 10 a.m., Monday through Friday.

• The Cortlandville Route 222 site will be serviced by a school van from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and then travel to the Homer Elementary School and be available from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

• A “satellite” van that will be added to travel to the Pine Hill, Coldbrook Road, and Mountain View trailer parks between 8 and 9:30 a.m. Monday.

These changes are reflected on the COVID-19 page of the district’s website. The goal is to provide meals to anyone who needs it, according to a news release.

United Way plans to help

The United Way for Cortland County has launched a special food insecurity fund in response to the coronavirus threat. One hundred percent of the funds raised through these efforts will be distributed throughout the community to assist food programs responding to the increased demand from local families.

These funds will complement the government relief being deployed to fill any potential gaps to ensure support for local community members.

United Way already has the infrastructure required to be able to collect and distribute these funds throughout the community in response to the needs that are changing daily.

To support this rapidly escalating need, go to www.cortlandunitedway. org and click the GIVE HELP NOW button.

All requests for help should go through 211. Simply dial 211 to speak to someone about local assistance. Resource information is also available on the 2-1-1 website www.211cortland.org.

Tompkins cuts back meetings

Tompkins County Legislature Chair Leslyn McBean-Clairborne has directed committees of the Legislature to postpone or defer non-essential in-person reports and presentations, citing concern for the health and safety of the public and county employees, and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

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 included on Committee agendas as it is available.

All meetings of advisory boards, committees, and commissions will be suspended through the end of March.

Career center closed for now

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Cortland Works Career Center office closed effective Tuesday.

Cortland Works Career Center plans to re-open to the public on April 6 or until further notice. Center officials made this decision to align with federal, state, regional, and local guidance and similar closures.

Anyone who needs assistance filing for unemployment insurance benefits should call: 1-888-209-8124 or go online to: www.labor.ny.gov. For any other job search questions, call 607-756-7585 or 607-753-5201. People can send an email to: employed@cortland-co.org.

TCAT waivesbus fares

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, the bus company serving Tompkins County, announced this week that it has eliminated fares through April 9 but the number of riders on each bus will be restricted indefinitely.

TCAT on Friday stopped collecting fares for three weeks and will limit the number of riders on each bus to 20 to minimize in-person contact, said TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool.

In announcing TCAT’s new coronavirus prevention strategies, Vanderpool said the agency decided to forgo fares so that riders will no longer need to put their hands on or near the farebox in an effort to protect them and their drivers.

This will also reduce distance as well as time spent between riders when boarding and their drivers, who sit adjacent to the fare box.

No less important, Vanderpool said, another reason for eliminating fares is to offer relief to riders who are struggling to make ends meet.