Coronavirus Update, March 27, 2020

New York now has over 44,000 of coronavirus cases state-wide, according to New York Governor Cuomo. There is one confirmed case of the virus in Schuyler County, according to county officials. In Tompkins County, there are 48 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Tompkins County Health Department says nearly 1200 COVID-19 tests have been administered locally, and 515 tests have come back negative. There are currently 628 pending test results.

In New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press conference Friday, it was announced that schools will remain closed statewide until at least April 15 to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. State leaders will reassess next steps at that time. 

Cuomo says that the state has also identified 4 new temporary hospital sites. One in the Bronx, one in Queens, one in Brooklyn & one in Staten Island. 62,000 medical staff, and over 10,000 mental healthcare workers have answered the state’s call to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to a tweet by the Governor.

In national news, President Trump has signed into law the largest stimulus package America has seen in recent history. The $2 trillion measure is in response to the economic ripple effects caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has shuttered schools and businesses across the nation.

The House of Representatives approved the deal early Friday, according to the New York Times.

Under the legislation, Americans earning up to $75,000 will receive a check of $1200, with an additional $500 per child in a household. Additionally, $377 billion in loans will be offered to small businesses, along with a $500 billion government lending program for companies affected by the pandemic. $100 billion will be sent to hospitals who are on the front lines of the outbreak.

Cornell Health has moved to “pandemic operations” as their efforts continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. According to the Cornell Chronicle, the operations will allow a small, highly trained team of professionals to continue working in order to screen patients and test for the virus. the other ninety percent of the staff at Cornell Health will now work remotely, including all counseling and psychological services, disability services, and occupational medicine. In addition all mental health services will now be screened over the phone rather than in person. 

The operation comes in response to CDC guidance that advised all outpatient facilities like Cornell health to delay all non-urgent in-person care. Included in the guidance was a focus on prioritizing potential patients with the virus, and testing as many patients as possible while test kits are available. 

Tompkins consolidated area transit, or TCAT, has announced further service reductions that will go into effect starting March 30th. The Ithaca Times reports that the reduction is due partly to the reduction in riders since the outbreak of COVID-19. The company said that ridership is currently at roughly ten percent of the normal numbers. 

Routes not operation are 11N; 11S; 53; 72, 74; 75; 81, 83W; 83; 90; 92 and 93. The company says routes that are typically operating only on weekdays will be extended every day of the week.

The changes are set to last until Saturday, May 23, when TCAT’s spring service ends. More information can be found on their website, 

Today is the infamous Cornell Dragon Day, but the usual hubbub of the annual Parade at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning is instead quiet since students were sent home due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to the Cornell Chronicle, The event is celebrated as a rite of passage for the first-year architecture class. Students collaborate to make parade floats in dragon fashion. But, for anyone missing the yearly parade, a history complete with photos and videos of the century-old tradition are available for viewing at

Contributing writing by WRFI News Volunteers Jon Donville and Susan Fortson.