Local Coronavirus (COVID-19) Watch


The Finger Lakes is set to begin phase one of the NY Forward Reopening Plan on May 15. Eleven weeks into the shutdown, many area residents still have questions and concerns about the virus and how the re-opening will impact their lives and livelihoods.

Tune in Monday, May 18 from 6-7pm and join the conversation.

Our panelists will include Dr. David Evelyn, VP for Medical Affairs at Cayuga Health System from 6-6:30pm, and Tim O'Hearn, Schuyler County Administrator from 6:30-7pm.

You can listen at 88.1FM in Ithaca, 91.9FM in Watkins Glen, at www.wrfi.org, or via Facebook Live.

Call in LIVE during the broadcast at 607-441-WRFI (9734), or submit written questions anytime using this form. You can also leave voice message with your question anytime on our comment line at 607-319-5445 extension 6.

Advice on Cloth Face Coverings from the CDC

Many people carrying the novel coronavirus lack symptoms  but can still transmit the virus to others—before showing symptoms.  

This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. On April 15, 2020, NYS Governor Cuomo issued an executive order requiring the use of masks.

Surgical face masks and N95 respirators are in short supply. Existing supplies are needed for medical facilities and caregivers. Learn to make cloth masks for yourself and others in need. Tutorials have been posted by The Washington Post, the New York Times, and, if you're in a pinch, try the Surgeon General's no-sew method.  Listen to our interview with local mask makers.

Protect yourself and those around you:

  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • If you think you have contracted COVID-19, perform the self check found here, and seek medical attention as needed.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include: fever, cough and shortness of breath. Special caution should be taken if you or someone you've had close contact with is ill or is known to have been exposed to the virus.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is not available, cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If hand washing is not immediately available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead.

In public:

  • Practice social distancing:
    • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people.
    • Do not gather in groups.
    • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
  • Wear a cloth face covering - especially where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Avoid handshakes and hugs, use an elbow bump instead.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 

At home and work:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly upon returning home.
  • Use caution when bringing items into your home. Disinfect as needed.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects (doorknobs, light switches) and surfaces with a household cleaner.

As your community radio station, WRFI is committed to keeping you up-to-date about the developing pandemic known as the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. Bookmark this page and come for the latest developments, resources, and closures as well as audio features and interviews relating to the coronavirus.

Latest Updates

Coronavirus Update, July 6, 2020

July 6, 2020

Following the holiday weekend, New York Governor Cuomo held a press conference in Albany to address a number of COVID-19 related announcements. Included was an…

Coronavirus Update, July 3, 2020

July 3, 2020

Three days after announcing the reopening of campus, Cornell’s administration has released more specific information, including guidelines around the August move-in and testing protocols, according…

Coronavirus Update, July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020

The city of Ithaca has opened numerous playgrounds, city parks, and outdoor amenities in advance of the 4th of July holiday weekend. 14850 magazine reports…

Coronavirus Update, July 1, 2020

July 1, 2020

Hot on the heels of announcements yesterday from Cornell and Ithaca College about reopening this fall, Tompkins Cortland Community College, or TC3, has also announced…

Coronavirus Update, June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

Two of the local higher education institutes have released official plans for how they will resume instruction this fall. Cornell University will offer a mix…

Coronavirus Update, June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020

Ithaca City playgrounds are slated to reopen this week after the city received an anonymous $25,000 donation, according to the Ithaca Voice. Mayor Svante Myrick…

Coronavirus Update, June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020

Looking at the local COVID-19 caseload, In Tompkins County there are no new cases as of Thursday and 1 active infection remains in the county,…



Mutual Aid Tompkins is neighbors supporting neighbors in the spirit of solidarity to meet survival needs

The Tompkins Mask Makers Facebook group is intended to bring together the various mask making projects in our county and allow individual mask makers to share tips, supplies, and connect with needs in our community. The group also has a website where you can order locally made cloth masks.

Follow Tompkins County Health Department on Facebook and Twitter

Follow WRFI Community Radio on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram