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Cortland County declares State of Emergency

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Cortland County has now officially declared a State of Emergency amid the ongoing threat of novel coronavirus to the community.

In a press release distributed at 4 pm this evening, officials confirmed all schools in the county will shut down and move to distance learning beginning Wednesday (March 18) until at least Monday, April 13th.

Should a positive case surface in the county before Wednesday, schools would be closed immediately.

Additionally, all county senior centers will close Tuesday, with meals on wheels services continuing, but with potentially modified deliveries.

Cortland’s decision to declare a State of Emergency follows that of Tompkins, Broome and several other nearby counties.

The declaration does not impact travel in Cortland County, but allows it to access and use funding with less restriction.


More details are expected this week, with city of Cortland officials holding a press conference at 8:00 tomorrow morning and the Cortland County Legislature meeting for a special session on Tuesday.

WXHC has exclusive interviews planned for tomorrow with Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin and Homer Mayor Hal McCabe, who will share their municipalities’ perspective of the situation.

Currently, there are more than 600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state, with the first two deaths reported over the weekend: A 64-year-old Rockland County man and an 82-year-old woman from New York City.

Stay tuned with WXHC News for updates as we follow this developing situation.


More information from the county’s official press release:

What does the State of Emergency mean in Cortland County?

  • Allows officials to obtain and purchase goods and services quickly.
  • Assistance can be provided to municipalities and school districts.
  • County operations will continue unchanged unless otherwise advised.

This declaration applies to all school districts in Cortland County and authorizes preemptive school dismissal, this is defined as no student instruction in school facilities beginning Wednesday March 18th, 2020 and continuing through Tuesday April 13th, 2020 unless a confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported in Cortland County at which time this order will take effect immediately.

This order will allow school buildings to remain open and for staff to report as required.

Daycare providers in Cortland County shall prioritize childcare for essential employees and first responders only.

Public & Private sector employees should contact to their employers to determine if they are essential.

County operations will continue unchanged unless otherwise advised. Cortland County employees are required to report for work as scheduled. The County is evaluating all services and is limiting non-essential services.

At this time all Cortland County senior centers will be closed beginning Tuesday March 17th. The meals on wheels services will continue but deliveries may be modified. The Horizon House program is closed.

Anyone with appointments at County offices or for County services is advised to call before arriving for their scheduled appointment. If you do not have an appointment for service you are asked to call ahead.

Per New York State guidance all services at the County Department of Motor vehicles will be by appointment only or through the existing drive through window. At this time we do not anticipate any changes in public transit schedules or routes.


Where can the public get information about COVID-19 in Cortland County?
• Call 211 for information, including questions about food, transportation, events and gatherings, cancellations,
and other human service needs
• Cortland County Health Department will continue to send out public updates
• Check Facebook
• Go to the Cortland County Health Department website for up-to-date information

If you develop symptoms of illness including fever, cough, or trouble breathing, call your healthcare provider
before you go to the office. In the event of an emergency, call 911.

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