In Tompkins County the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is up by 2 as of Thursday, bringing the total to 156. According to the Tompkins county health department, one person is hospitalized for the virus. 134 of the positive cases have recovered, and over 9000 people have been tested in total.

There are no new confirmed cases of the virus in Schuyler County as of Thursday. According to the Schuyler health department all 13 people who were infected with the virus have recovered. Over 1400 people have been tested in total.

There are over 1,700 new cases of COVID-19 in New York State as of Thursday, bringing the statewide total to over 366,000, according to the state department of health.

In his daily press briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he is issuing an executive order allowing New York State businesses to deny entry to any customer not wearing a face covering or mask.

New York State health officials will be distributing a million face masks to residents living in New York City neighborhoods having the highest number of cases of COVID-19.   Cuomo also stated that a new pilot program would test the effectiveness of UV light technology to kill viral particles on surfaces in the New York City subway. 

The unemployment rate in the Ithaca metropolitan area has tripled from April 2019 to April 2020. The Ithaca Times reports that according to the New York State Department of Labor the April 2020 unemployment rate in Ithaca was 10.1%, as compared to just 3.2% in April 2019.  From March to April of this year, unemployment grew from 3.7% to the current 10.1% -- an increase of 6.4%. 

The report shows that unemployment in Ithaca is the lowest of any metropolitan area in the state. The highest unemployment in the state was in Buffalo-Niagara Falls where 19.2% of workers are unemployed. 

Following an announcement by United Airlines that it plans to temporarily cut service to and from Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is urging the airline company to change its plans.

The Ithaca Voice reports that Schumer has written a letter to United Airlines CEO J. Scott Kirby.  In the letter, Schumer asserts that the Ithaca area has seen increased air travel over the last two months.  He adds that it is important to maintain air service to help support the reopening of regional businesses.

United Airlines is just one of many US air carriers that is suffering from decreases in air travel customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The airline expects to receive $5 billion in relief from the CARES bill, but that money is contingent on United keeping all its workers employed until at least September 30.  In a letter released yesterday, United Airlines CEO says that United employees should prepare for eventual layoffs.

The Ithaca Tompkins International Airport has received $1.7 million dollars in aid from the CARES act.  In his letter, Senator Schumer points out that if United were to cancel its service to Ithaca Tompkins International Airport, the local community would suffer economically. 

Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado has announced a tentative academic calendar for the 2020-2021 school year, as reported in The Ithacan.  Collado made her announcement on Tuesday in an email sent to the Ithaca College community. 

The schedule indicates that the fall semester will begin on Monday, October 5th.  There will be no fall break, and a two-day Thanksgiving break.  Following a two week winter break, fall semester classes will resume on January 4th.  The Spring semester will then begin on February 4th, followed by a short spring break. Finals will start May 17th, and Commencement will take place on May 30th over Memorial day weekend. 

Along with the announcement, Collado has appointed the Return to Campus Task Force to ensure that efforts to return to campus will comply with local and federal guidelines. 

The annual Racker Rivals Big Red hockey game will have an online format this year, according to a Racker press release. 

The game normally features Cornell hockey alumni and other local celebrities.  Funds raised during the event supports the work of Racker, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating opportunities for people with disabilities and their families. Racker provides services to residents of Tompkins, Cortland and Tioga Counties. 

Team Racker will be coached by Greg Hartz, the President and CEO of the Tompkins Trust Company. Team Cornell will be coached by Mike Schafer, the head coach of the Cornell Men’s Hockey Team.

This year, Racker Rivals will feature a 4 week online campaign to raise money for the organization.  There will be two teams, and players will compete to see who can raise the most money. An online scoreboard will keep track of the results. Learn more at

Contributing writing by WRFI News Contributor Esther Racoosin, and News Interns Phoebe Harms and Jon Donville