December 6, 2021

Cortland mayor tests positive, warns others

Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin has contracted COVID-19, but said Wednesday he feels fine and displays no symptoms following the positive test Tuesday.

Tobin, 49, said he was exposed to someone he was working with last week while working at City Hall who may have been indirectly exposed to another positive case, he said.

Both Tobin and the exposed person he was working with were wearing masks and social distancing, he said, but were handing papers to each other.

The individual was tested Dec. 21 and received a positive test result Dec. 23.

“It kind of surprised both of us, because neither one of us had thought they had been exposed,” Tobin said.

Eric Mulvihill, the clerk of the Cortland County Legislature, said he did not have details of potential exposures at City Hall that may have led to Tobin contracting the virus.

Tobin said he had been quarantining from his family at home for a week and will continue to do so for another week.

He said he was surprised when he tested positive as he, members of his family, and co-workers had all been wearing masks and following other COVID safety guidelines. Further, he said he does not have any pre-existing conditions that could make him more susceptible to the virus than others.

Should his health worsen and he wouldn’t be able to work, Alderman John Bennett (D-4th Ward) would act as mayor.

Prior to Christmas, Tobin made plans not to visit relatives elsewhere in the state to prevent any potential exposures. This meant watching his kids and wife open presents Christmas morning in a mask and from the other side of the room.

For New Year’s, he’ll spend the holiday in his room, which has become his de facto work space.

Tobin said he hopes he can use himself as an example that even if people follow the guidelines, like he did, they should still be diligent and assume the virus is everywhere.

“Until this is over, we have to continue to give it our best efforts,” he said.