Coronavirus Update, March 31, 2020

New York now has over 75,000 cases of the coronavirus, according to the state department of health. There are 2 confirmed cases of the virus in Schuyler County. In Tompkins County, there are 76 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of now. According to the county health department, 28 of those cases have since seen resolved symptoms and have been released from isolation.

In his daily press conference, Governor Cuomo asserted that the City’s 160 private hospitals must coordinate with its 11 public hospitals, reports the TImesUnion.  He added that the two groups of hospitals must work together to care for the mounting numbers of individuals with COVID-19. 

There are currently 175 people from outside of the state who have applied on an online portal to come to New York City to assist in hospitals and other medical facilities.  Cuomo emphasized that additional health care providers are needed because personnel currently working in hospitals are overworked and afraid to return to their homes in fear of exposing their families to the virus.

The Governor affirmed that state residents need to stay disciplined and remain home or they risk spreading the disease to vulnerable individuals. 

The Tompkins County Office of Human Rights and other local organizations are speaking out against the harassment of local Asian-Americans amidst the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Ithaca times reports that on March 17, Mayor Svante Myrick published a video on Twitter in response to two acts of harassment towards Asian-Americans, which had coronavirus references. He states the acts were quote “beyond unacceptable” unquote and the police are investigating the incidents. 

The Office of Human Rights released a statement along with the Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and Ithaca Asian American Association. The group wrote that they quote, “strongly condemn recent acts of racist-motivated harassment, intimidation, verbal and physical attacks and microaggressions against our fellow Asian and Asian American Community Members,” unquote. 

It is not clear if there are more issues of harassment other than the two incidents stated by Myrick. Citizens can report discriminatory acts to the Office of Human Rights at (607) 277-4080.

Cornell University has announced a hiring freeze, as well as a freeze on employee salary increases, reports The Ithaca Times.

The hiring freeze is university wide and concerns all non-academic staff. The salary freeze will reverse all salary increases that were expected to go into effect on July 1st 2020, except those that were collectively bargained for by a union. Staff were also given an additional 10 health and personal days off to support them in this process. 

Amidst the changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, many executives at Cornell have taken voluntary pay cuts this year.  The school said that all savings from the measures are going to be dedicated to financial aid for students, with the university presumably expecting many more financial aid applications than usual in the future. Additionally, all capital projects at the university are going to be re-evaluated, and all discretionary spending will be cancelled at this time. 

The popular ithaca food truck the “circus truck” is offering meals this month to service industry workers who have been laid off given the COVID-19 pandemic. 14850 magazine reports that the truck’s owner,is offering complimentary meals to different industry workers every day. The schedule for the rest of the week is the following: 

Free meals on Wednesday April first are for Daycare and child care center workers; Thursday April second for Auto industry and auto salespersons; and Friday April third is for performing artists and theatre workers. 

The meals will be available from eleven am until two pm every day. The truck is still open to all customers, although the picnic tables have been put away to maintain social distancing. The Circus truck can be found at west fulton and meadow streets, and serves breakfast sandwiches, soup, sandwiches, and pasta. More information can be found at the Circus truck’s facebook page. 

The Ithaca Voice is keeping track of all the food pantries around Ithaca and their ongoing efforts to help feed the ithaca community. Some important updates this week include the following. 

Cornell university is launching an emergency food pantry starting this week. It will take place at the basketball courts at 301 west court street. It is open to the community tuesdays and thursdays from 1-4PM. 

The Ithaca City School District is offering meals to any student for the duration of the school closure. Families requesting meals need to fill out an online form each week that need to be filled out at least 24-36 hours in advance. 

Collegetown Bagel’s downtown location at 301 E. State Street is offering “pay what you can” prices on all packaged food. There is a limit on these items of two items per person per day. CTB also puts leftover food on a table outside the restaurant everyday at four PM. This food is first come first served while supplies last and there is no limit per customer. 

Visit our friends over at for an updated list of all other food pantries in the community and their hours of operation.

Contributing writing by WRFI News Volunteers Esther Racoosin, Jon Donville, Joanne Izbicki, and Tessie Devlin