The number of hospitalizations in Tompkins due to complications from the virus are at 17 as of yesterday. The Tompkins County Health Department reported two coronavirus related deaths yesterday. 

According to the Tompkins County health department, as of the time of our 6 p.m. broadcast there are 295 active cases of COVID-19. Yesterday there were an additional 62 positive cases, the highest number of new cases in one day since the pandemic began in March, The Ithaca Voice reports. This brings the current total of active cases to 295, with 17 hospitalized with the virus.The Health Department confirmed in a press release today that two residents of the Beechtree Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing died due to the virus.  The number of COVID-related deaths in the county has reached 21 in total.  

In Schuyler County, today there were 3 new cases of COVID-19 reported. 46 active cases remain, according to their Health Department. 11 people are now hospitalized due to the virus.

Governor Cuomo is warning New Yorkers that new strains of the novel coronavirus will arrive in the U.S. that are more lethal and contagious than the current strains of SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

In his comments at a press conference yesterday, Cuomo did not cite any scientific research.  He talked about recent reports that a more contagious strain of the virus found in the U.K. has now been found in four persons living in New York State.

The Albany Times-Union reports that Cuomo expressed that the U.S. should have a policy in which travelers must have proof of a negative COVID test before boarding flights coming to the U.S.  

During the press conference, Cuomo also expressed frustration with the Federal vaccine distribution process.  He noted that at the current rate, it would take New York over 7 months to vaccinate the approximately 7 million residents that currently fall under the Federal 1B vaccination eligibility requirements.

Cuomo said that he had called the CEO of Pfizer to ask if the state would be able to negotiate the direct purchase of additional vaccine doses for New Yorkers.

Contributing writing by Esther Racoosin and Phoebe Harms