October 28, 2021

Cortland County reports 2nd virus fatality

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A woman in her 70s died of COVID-19 Monday at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, the Cortland County Health Department reported, the second death in Cortland County since the pandemic began.

Tompkins County has reported three coronavirus deaths since March. Cayuga County has reported at least seven.

The woman had been receiving treatment at the hospital, the county said.

The death comes in a three-month spike in coronavirus infections in Cortland County. Of the 1,256 cases confirmed since March, 93% or 1,165 have been diagnosed since Aug. 21.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Tracker reports 257,514 coronavirus deaths in America and 1.4 million around the world.

“Small indoor gatherings among friends and family members are contributing to the increase in COVID-19 cases,” the county said in a statement. “As families gather for Thanksgiving celebrations it is even more important to limit your gatherings to people that live in your home.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered a 10-person limit on mass gatherings, but even just two or three people in an enclosed space like a car can be a danger, said Dr. Joseph A. Scopelliti, CEO of Guthrie, which operates the Cortland hospital, in an interview Friday explaining how the hospital had created a second isolation unit to treat two patients who were transferred from the hospital’s skilled nursing facility.

“Small gatherings in small spaces is a risk,” he said.

Instead of in-person gatherings the Health Department suggests people call or video-conference their friends, neighbors and families. It also suggests:

  • Limiting your activities to essential activities only.
  • Limiting interactions with anyone outside your home.
  • Keeping your distance from others.
  • Wearing your mask whenever out in public and at work and school.
  • Staying home if you are even mildly ill.
  • Washing your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.