It was announced by the Tompkins County health department that as of Wednesday, there are 7 more cases of COVID-19 in the county. This comes after Tuesday's additional 10 new cases reported in Tompkins. That leaves 24 active cases in our area, and 169 recovered cases.

Frank Kruppa, County Public Health Director issued a statement yesterday saying that of the new 10 positives, five are related to out-of-state travel, four are related to a known case at a local Fourth of July gathering where social distancing and mask wearing were not observed, and one case is connected to an active positive case in the county. As of 6pm Wednesday, the Health Department has not issued additional information about the contact points of today’s additional 7 new cases.

The Tompkins County Health Department is reminding residents to follow mask requirements and quarantine guidance to stop the spread.

Over in Schuyler County, there are no new positive cases reported as of Wednesday. 15 out of 17 people infected with COVID-19 have recovered, according to their health department.

Congressman Tom Reed visited the Ithaca Community Childcare centre yesterday and announced his intentions to vote for federal funding that would support childcare centers in the 23rd district.

According to the Ithaca Voice, Reed’s announcement comes as benefits from the CARES act are set to expire on July 25th. The first round of funding dedicated roughly $65 million dollars to childcare centers in New York state through the New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive Program. However more funding will be necessary as Centers will need money to buy touch free thermometers, cleaning and sanitizing materials, testing and payroll.

At Tuesday's press conference Reed spoke about the childcare crisis in the United states due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for the Government to step in to aid those service providers. The Congressman added his hope that another federal stimulus bill will be passed soon, and that centers will have the money they need by the end of the summer.

In an effort to meet the needs of international students who might have trouble traveling to the U.S. this fall due to the pandemic, Cornell has created a “Study Away” program.

The Cornell Chronicle reports that the program will allow Cornell students to live and study at a college or university in their home country or region. Students will live at the local university, and have access to their facilities and services. However, they will take a full schedule of Cornell classes online, and have the option to take some in-person classes at the institution they are staying at as well.

Last year Cornell enrolled more than 5,000 international students, accounting for roughly 23% of the student population. In a recent survey, more than 2,000 Cornell students indicated that they anticipate having trouble traveling back to New York State this fall.

The locations that will be featured in the “Study Away” program include the City of Hong Kong University, Vin University in Vietnam, and the China Agricultural University. There will also be locations in Rome, Spain, Beijing, Shanghai, New Delhi, and Colombia.

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, or INHS, is still accepting applications for their COVID-19 related loss of income rental assistance program.

The program allows individuals who have suffered income loss due to the coronavirus pandemic to receive up to three months’ worth of rent, the Ithaca Voice reports. Around $790,000 in grant money has been set aside for Tompkins County residents, which could provide for up to 150 households.

INHS has also been granted an additional $190,000 from the Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus of the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency, or IURA. This will serve approximately 50 households in Ithaca.

Renters interested in applying for relief must receive approval from their property owners, and the property must meet condition requirements. A copy of the lease, proof of income loss due to COVID-19, and copies of the most recent two months’ bank statements must be submitted along with an application. Learn more at ithacainhs.org or by calling 607-277-4500.

Tompkins Cortland Community College, or TC3, announced in a press release Tuesday that due to the pandemic, they would be delaying the seasons of multiple sports at the school.

The TC3 men’s and women’s soccer season, as well as women’s volleyball, will be postponed until the Spring semester. Additionally, the men’s and women’s basketball seasons, which normally take place over both semesters, will now only be held during the spring semester.

Mick McDaniel, Director of Athletics at TC3 says that the school wants to avoid completely canceling fall sports and that this way student-athletes will be able to have the best experience possible. Individual meetings will be held with athletes to clarify details surrounding physicals, testing, and schedules.

The New York State legislature will be holding eight online public hearings to discuss the state’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The hearings will run from July 28th until August 25th according to the Times Union.

Two of the hearings will focus on the spread of the virus in residential care and nursing home communities. These communities have been at the center of controversy because of two controversial decisions made by the state during the pandemic. The first allowed staff members to continue to work if they tested positive for the virus, as long as they were asymptomatic. The second mandated that nursing homes were not allowed to turn away patients just because they had tested positive for the virus.

Last week the department of health released a report that argued that the fatalities in nursing home communities were more as a result of staff and visitors than the state policy.

The two nursing home hearings will take place on August 3rd and August 10th. The hearing on August 3rd will focus on upstate homes, while the one on the 10th will have a downstate focus.

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