October 18, 2021

Coronavirus briefs 4/21

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Number of Cortland County’s virus cases remains at 32

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cortland County remained at 32 Monday. In total, three people have died in Cayuga, Tompkins and Cortland counties.

The county Health Department was monitoring 43 people. Two people are hospitalized, bringing to six the total who have been hospitalized. The Cortland County Health Department has received 851 negative test results from health care providers. Twenty-three people have recovered.

Tompkins County reports 119 confirmed cases among 2,742 tested people, the state Department of Health and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported Monday. Two people have died, although neither was a Tompkins resident, state data show.

The Cayuga County Health Department reported one new case Monday, totaling 46. One person has died; none are hospitalized. Another 41 are quarantined and 10 are in isolation. It awaits test results on 19 people of 722 people tested.

State streamlines system for pandemic assistance

The state Department of Labor launched a new application Monday for New Yorkers to apply for traditional unemployment insurance or the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance without calling the state.

Until now, federal guidelines required people to apply for regular unemployment insurance and be rejected before applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. With this new application, which aligns with updated federal policy, New Yorkers will be able to simply fill out one form.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, DOL has paid $2.2 billion in unemployment insurance benefits to 1.1 million New Yorkers. The application call backlog prior to April 8 has been reduced to 4,305 from 275,000.

“While it appears the coronavirus pandemic is beginning to stabilize — at least from the public health perspective — we know that many New Yorkers are still facing an uncertain economic future, and the Department of Labor will continue to dedicate every resource available to helping New Yorkers weather this storm,” said Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which was included in the Federal CARES Act, provides unemployment benefits for individuals who are ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance.

Cayuga Health steps up testing at nursing homes

Cayuga Health deployed its mobile testing unit Monday to Schuyler Hospital’s Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility to test residents for COVID-19, as it did Friday at Bridges Cornell Heights, an assisted-living facility in Ithaca.

Previous guidelines hindered essential caregivers who did not show symptoms from getting tested because they would have to be in mandatory isolation while they waited for test results. The staff of Seneca View will also be tested later this week.

“New guidelines now allow asymptomatic essential caregivers to return to work while awaiting their results,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, CEO of Cayuga Health. “This allows for the staff and residents at both Seneca View and Bridges Cornell Heights to get tested without concerns over staffing.”

Cayuga Health also offers a drive-through sampling center at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Testing is offered with no out-of-pocket expense to residents. Review screening criteria and register at www.cayugahealth.org or call 607-319-5708.