In Tompkins County the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased by 2, to 136, as of 6 p.m. Wednesday. According to the Tompkins county health department, 1 person remains hospitalized for the virus. 114 of the positive cases have recovered, and over 5000 people have been tested in total. 

The Tompkins County Health Department has announced that a new case of COVID-19 in the county was detected in a GreenStar employee who worked multiple shifts at the new location at 770 Cascadilla Street this past weekend.

Customers may have been exposed either on Friday, May 8, 7:00AM – 3:15PM, or Saturday, May 9, 7:00AM – 3:15PM. If you shopped at the store during these periods, the Health Department asks that you get tested at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site between the hours of 10am-3pm Monday through Friday at 40 Catherwood Rd. Pre-register online cayugahealthsystem.org or call 607-319-5708.

The Health department asks that any person exposed to self-quarantine in their home for 14 days from the last date they shopped at the location. If the result is negative, the Health department asks that they continue to self-quarantine and monitor oneself for the full 14 days from the last time you shopped at GreenStar. If you get symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath, seek testing again.

There were no new confirmed cases of the virus in Schuyler County Wednesday. As an update, the asymptomatic person who was confirmed positive yesterday works in a healthcare setting and was tested as part of employee screening. In a contact investigation, there were no public exposure risks identified. According to health department officials all 9 other people who were infected with the virus have recovered. 696 people have been tested in total.

The Ithaca Times is reporting an increase in domestic violence in Tompkins County since the start of the COVID-19 quarantine -- a disturbing trend seen nationwide over the last 2 months. New York State data shows domestic violence cases rose 30% in April 2020 compared to April 2019. Tompkins County shows about a 20% increase in calls and arrests for domestic violence cases when comparing this year’s March 1 through May 2 data to last year’s data.

The Tompkins County Advocacy Center hotline reports only a slight increase in calls overall. However, the proportion of domestic violence calls is higher, while the number of child abuse and child sexual abuse cases have dropped significantly. Those cases are usually reported by mandated reporters such as teachers or counselors. Some victims of domestic violence cannot call due their calls being monitored by the abuser. 

Newly implemented text and chat options are now available to victims all across New York. Text 844-997-2121 or chat online at opdv.ny.gov. These services are completely confidential and are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with experts in the area of domestic violence.

Tompkins County health officials are providing details on re-opening the Southern Tier, according to the Ithaca Voice. A panel from the Tompkins County Health Department answered questions during a virtual Q&A on Monday after Governor Cuomo announced that the Southern Tier can begin phase one of reopening this weekend.

Under pressure to re-open, the state will allow low-risk businesses to begin limited operations. These include non-essential retail operations, landscaping and gardening businesses, and drive-in movie theaters. Childcare will become increasingly important as people return to work, so plans are being developed to protect childcare staff and children. 

As the Southern Tier begins the first phase of reopening, all businesses are required to create a plan for re-opening. Plans must consider 3 main factors: protecting the employees and customers, making changes to the physical workspace, and implementing processes that meet public health criteria. 

Phase two of the reopening process is still unclear, but will involve monitoring the impact from a public health perspective. County health officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing, wearing face coverings, avoiding group gatherings, and staying home if sick.

Tompkins County Health Department has created a new page on their website to provide updates and information. Learn more at tompkinscountyny.gov/health/movingforward

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick has announced that the temporary policy that allowed City residents to have trash picked up without tags will conclude this Sunday. 

The temporary policy was in effect while the city closed down operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now with the Southern Tier slowly beginning a phased reopening of business operations this weekend, Ithaca officials are resuming select city services. Beginning Monday, May 18, all trash bags and cans must have a trash tag in order to be collected by the city.

Trash tags can be purchased from major grocery stores including Tops, Wegmans, and Greenstar. Ithaca residents can also purchase trash tags from the City Chamberlain’s Office by sending a check and instructions with how many tags you would like to purchase. Tags will then be mailed out. 

Listeners who may have questions about trash and yard waste tags can contact the City Chamberlain’s Office at (607) 274-6580.

NASCAR is scheduled to return to Watkins Glen International in mid-August. However, as of now there may not be any fans allowed at the event.

The Elmira Star Gazette writes that on Friday NASCAR announced that its revised schedule doesn’t include races at Sonoma Raceway in California and Chicagoland Speedway, leaving Watkins to be the only road race on the Cup schedule this year.

The NASCAR cup race will take place on August 16, according to Finger Lakes 1. NASCAR officials say they’re working to find another way for fans to watch the race in some way. WGI President Michael Printup says there will need to be more precautions in place whether or not fans are allowed back at the racetrack. He says so far those plans include disinfecting the bathrooms often, and keeping someone at the door of bathrooms to limit the number of people using them. 

Watkins Glen International had canceled its scheduled Opening Weekend event in April due to COVID-19, and staff have been working remotely.

Watkins Glen village trustees have voted to approve the new budget totals -- the nearly $2.75 million dollar budget is about $3,000 less than last year’s budget. 

According to the Observer Review and Express, Watkins Glen is in good financial shape despite the coronavirus pandemic. This is because the village relies on property tax for revenue. Counties and cities rely on sales tax which leaves them more heavily impacted by COVID-19. Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk expects Schuyler County to contribute less to the Watkins Glen budget than was initially expected.

The village will see an increase in property tax revenue due to the county’s reassessment of property tax values.

The board decided to also keep the village’s recycling program despite the 25% increase in cost. They requested public input on their website, and the overwhelming response was in favor of keeping the program. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that a fourth region in the state has hit the requirements to begin a phased reopening this weekend. As of today, the North Country joins the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, and Mohawk Valley regions to begin phase one of reopening businesses. Those include construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup; and agriculture, forestry and fishing. It was announced today as well that the Central New York region has met six of the seven metrics and could potentially be ready to open at the end of the week.

There were around 2100 new cases of the virus in the state Wednesday, bringing New York’s case total to over 340,000.

Contributing writing by WRFI News Volunteer Susan Fortson