We’ll start by looking at the local COVID-19 caseload. The number of hospitalizations due to complications from the virus have more than doubled since last Monday. According to the Tompkins County health department, as of the time of our 6 p.m. broadcast there are 29 people hospitalized. There are 14 additional positives and 13 new recoveries. The County Health Department says that leaves 226 active cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins.

In Schuyler County, there are 4 new cases of COVID-19 reported as of today, leaving 60 active cases, according to their Health Department. 4 people remain hospitalized due to the virus.

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On Wednesday, January 6th at 4pm Tompkins County Officials will give the latest local updates on COVID-19, including local distribution of the vaccine. County Administrator Jason Molino, Public Health Director Frank Kruppa and Cayuga Health System's CEO Dr. Martin Stallone will speak at the event, broadcast on the Tompkins County Youtube page.

Dr. Stallone will also delve about Cayuga Medical System’s hospital capacity, the local COVID sampling sites and more.

Questions for the January 6th county town hall may be submitted during the event by using the chat feature. They may also be submitted in advance to Tompkins County's Communications Director Dominick Recckio: drecckio@tompkins-co.org.

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Governor Cuomo today announced updated quarantine guidelines for New York to align with the latest rules from the CDC. 

Under the new guidelines, individuals exposed to COVID-19 may end their quarantine after 10 days without a testing requirement as long as no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. According to the Governor’s press release, once day 10 is reached individuals must continue monitoring for symptoms to that day 14 mark. If any symptoms develop they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or healthcare provider to report the change, and see if they should seek testing. 

People are asked to continue COVID-safe habits such as wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings.

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The New York State Legislature met during a special session today to pass a bill that bans evictions and foreclosures for anyone facing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The Times Union reports that the bill bans these evictions until the beginning of May, and passed 40-21, along party lines. 

The bill will not cancel rent, but will instead push debt forward. The bill also provides some protections for small landlords with less than 10 properties. That includes a ban on foreclosures on them due to lost income, and their credit scores cannot have been affected during the pandemic. 

Along with the rent moratorium, there was a failed vote to strip Governor Andrew Cuomo of the emergency powers he was granted in March. Cuomo has broad authority to make decisions, but all of his actions can be overruled by a simple majority in the legislature. 

Contributing writing by WRFI News Volunteer Jon Donville