In Tompkins County the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is up by 1 as of Wednesday, bringing to total to 154. According to the Tompkins county health department, one new person was hospitalized for the virus. A 93 year-old woman was recently released from the Cayuga Medical Center after beating the virus. The Ithaca Times reports that Margaret Melens of Horseheads left the hospital yesterday morning. 133 of the positive cases have recovered, and over 8500 people have been tested in total. 

There were 13 confirmed cases of the virus in Schuyler County as of today. According to health department officials all people who were infected with the virus have recovered. Over 1,300 people have been tested in total.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called on the United States Senate to pass a federal COVID-19 relief bill that would put a focus on helping all residents, along with funding state and local governments. He has also re-upped his calls from earlier in the month for Congress to pass the “Americans First Law” that would prevent corporate bailouts after the pandemic. The law outlines that a corporation cannot get government money if it doesn’t rehire the same number of employees prior to the pandemic.

On Wednesday Governor Cuomo also announced that Long Island will join the Mid-Hudson Valley, Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions in beginning to reopen its economy.

There are over 1,100 new cases of COVID-19 in New York State as of today, bringing the statewide total to nearly 365,000, according to the state department of health.

Increased testing in Tompkins County led to an error in COVID-19 data reporting last week. 

The Ithaca Voice reports that the false data involved negative and pending test results as well as the total number of tested individuals for Friday, May 22nd. The Tompkins County Health Department says tracking data became complicated after a higher number of tests were completed at various locations.

The error occurred when a number of registrations for testing were mistakenly counted as the number of completed tests. Additionally, the numbers showed an increase of 1,000 individuals being tested in just one day. However, there was no new information reported the day before, causing two days’ worth of data to be reported at once. 

The mistake has since been corrected, and there were no inaccuracies in data regarding positive tests or recovered or hospitalized individuals.

For-hire drivers are suing the Cuomo administration and the state Department of Labor over issues with receiving unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Politico reports that three Uber and Lyft drivers have filed a federal complaint over the amount of time they have waited to receive benefits. Because New York State classifies for-hire drivers the same as independent contractors, these individuals have to undergo a more extensive application process than other workers.

This process forces some for-hire drivers to wait months for benefits as opposed to the weeks that other workers wait. The suit asks for immediate relief to those still waiting for benefits, and for companies like Uber and Lyft to issue their driver’s earnings data to the state for them. 

The state has urged drivers to apply for benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and claims these individuals have not been treated differently than any other workers amid the pandemic. 

However, there has been raised concern over drivers using the program because they generally make a larger gross income than net income. Because the federal program calculates aid based on net income, there is a risk of drivers receiving fewer benefits. 

Contributing writing by WRFI News Interns Tessie Devlin, Jon Donville, and Phoebe Harms