Coronavirus Update, September 8, 2020

It was announced Tuesday by the Chemung County Health Department and Schuyler County Public Health that a cluster of COVID-19 cases have been  linked to the Lighthouse Baptist Church, in Horseheads. According to a news release, the health departments found cases in both counties with help from the church and the New York State Department of Health.

Anyone who attended the Lighthouse Baptist Church, for any events, including services, bible study, etc. between August 18th and September 6th are asked to get tested for COVID-19, stay home and limit contact with others, and monitor yourself for coronavirus symptoms.

COVID-19 testing for church visitors is being offered tomorrow, September 9th, from 11 AM to 5 PM at the Chemung County Fairgrounds – located at 170 Fairview Rd, Horseheads, NY 14845. Testing will be free of charge, and anyone going is asked to bring identification. Anyone who needs to get tested an an alternate sites can find one through the New York State COVID website.


Looking at the local COVID-19 caseload, in Schuyler County, there are 2 new cases of COVID-19 reported as of Tuesday, according to their Health Department. 2 active cases remain. At this time it is unclear whether both new positives are tied back to the Lighthouse Baptists Church cluster.

The latest numbers, released Tuesday by the Tompkins County health department, indicate that there are 3 additional positives, and 9 new recoveries, along with  3 new positives and 5 new recoveries reported at 7pm Monday. According to the County Health Department, that leaves 80 active cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins.

As of Tuesday, four additional states have been added to New York State's COVID-19 travel advisory, while Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have been removed, according to Governor Cuomo’s office. Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia have all had a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average, or a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

The advisory mandates that people who’ve traveled to New York from those areas with significant community spread of the virus to quarantine for two weeks.


Due to a delay in Cornell’s reporting of coronavirus cases on its campus, it’s unclear how close the University is to reaching 100 new cases in a two-week period, reports the Cornell Daily Sun. Passing that state-mandated threshold would force the school to temporarily suspend in-person classes.

At last week’s Ithaca Common Council Meeting, University officials attributed the delay in part to time lost while exchanging data with Cayuga Health System and the Tompkins County Health Department.

The dashboard aims to provide transparency daily tally of tests and positive cases out of Cornell’s testing centers. The site warns of a two-day delay from the time the COVID test is administered to when the results show up on the dashboard. But the Cornell Daily Sun points out that it lacks data about active cases, recoveries, and differentiation between surveillance tests and other COVID-19 diagnostics.

Additionally, Cornell uses pooled testing for its COVID-19 surveillance program, but students who test positive under a surveillance test must re-test using the FDA-approved nose swab - leading to a longer wait time for results. As of now, the dashboard doesn’t provide clarity about how positive surveillance tests are reported vs. a positive diagnostic test.

Last week, the University’s pandemic alert level moved to “Yellow” after what started as a 9-person cluster grew to 39 people. As of tonight, Cornell’s COVID-19 dashboard hasn’t reported test results since Thursday, September 3.


Tompkins Cortland Community College, has extended its remote learning period to Friday, September 11 so the Health Department can conduct contact tracing for new COVID-19 cases. TC3 announced Sunday that it would extend the September 3rd and 4th remote learning period all the way to this Friday, after more students tested positive for COVID-19 - though the additional number of positives out of TC3 has not been released yet.

On Monday, the Ithacan reported the update about TC3’s continued remote learning, just a day before Ithaca College kicked off it’s all-online semester. The IC COVID-19 dashboard states that as of yesterday, three members of the college community have tested positive for coronavirus. Two of the three IC-related cases reported last week are among graduate students who live off campus.

Ithaca College is currently conducting tests for asymptomatic students and employees in the school’s Athletics and Events Center. However, students who present with COVID-19 symptoms are not allowed on campus, and must report to the sampling site at The Shops at Ithaca Mall.