Coronavirus Update, March 26, 2020

New York State's total number of positive COVID-19 cases has reached over 37,000, according to the state department of health. According to the Governor, New York is doing more tests -- now up to 18,650 tests per day. A quarter of all tests in the country have reportedly been done in New York.

As of the time of broadcast, there are 32 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins county. There are no confirmed cases of the virus in Schuyler County. The Tompkins County Health Department says 1009 COVID-19 tests have been administered locally, and 515 tests have come back negative. 526 people have been released from quarantine, and there are currently 462 pending test results.

The number of people filing unemployment claims soared from the week ending March fourteenth to the week ending March twenty first, according to The Times Union.   The rapid increase is in response to the number of businesses that have had to close to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. 

This comes from a department of labor report that showed the number of claims went from approximately 14,000 the week before to more than 66,000 for the week ending March twenty first. This brought the total for the month over eighty thousand claims. 

Nationally, the department of labor says that unemployment claims could number more than 3.28 million. Pennsylvania has had the most claims, with more than three hundred and sixty thousand claims being filed last week alone. 

Cayuga Medical Center has reportedly completed a plan that would satisfy the fifty percent inpatient capacity increase, The Ithaca Voice reports. The center normally has one hundred and seventeen beds available, but the plan would bring them to one hundred and seventy six beds. 

Dr. David Evelyn, the Vice President of Medical Affairs for the Cayuga Medical Center says that the plan will not be implemented until additional space is needed. In addition to the beds, the Medical Center is also looking to increase the number of ventilators.

For the medical center, the focus is on containment and limiting the number of cases.

The Shops at Ithaca Mall is closing because of the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, according to the Ithaca Voice. The announcement was made yesterday by the owners of the mall,  Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group.

The only store in the complex to remain open is Target. Under the state’s criteria it is seen as essential as it has both a grocery section and a pharmacy. The store will reserve the first hours of shopping from 8 to 9am on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for at-risk shoppers. This includes pregnant women, people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions.

As Coronavirus spreads there is a nationwide shortage of medical supplies. Recently local people on college campuses have stepped up to donate extra supplies, according to the Cornell Chronicle.

Undergraduate students, graduate students, university staff and faculty members have all stepped up and donated supplies to the cause. The college of Veterinary medicine donated swabs for testing and 900 N95 Respirators to Cayuga Medical Center. In total the Tompkins County Emergency Operations Center collected over 2,500 N95 respirators.

Contributing writing by WRFI News Volunteers Ed von Aderkas and Jon Donville, and News Intern Christian Maitre.