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CNY braces for peak impact of pandemic expected this week

Local News

(numbers current as of April 6, 11 am)

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to hit its peak in all regions of New York State this week, with forecasters also predicting the highest single-day of deaths in the coming days as well.

Cortland County so far has reported 15 cases and two hospitalizations, with none connected to each other and six now fully recovered.

Health officials are also monitoring 30 others in quarantine and say 518 test results have come back negative.

So far, the hardest hit county in the Central New York region is Onondaga, which reported its fifth COVID-related death over the weekend out of a total 364 confirmed cases. Of those, 246 are still active and 17 people are reported to be in critical condition.

WSYR reports County Executive Ryan McMahon has called for a two-week voluntary Shelter in Place as a result, directing residents to gather their essentials on assigned days of the week based on their last names.

Other local numbers from neighboring counties

  • Tompkins County: 98 cases
  • Cayuga County: 8 cases
  • Madison County: 89 cases; 2 deaths
  • Chenango County: 43 cases
  • Broome County: 71 cases; 5 deaths
  • Tioga County: 9 cases

Meanwhile, the Cortland County Legislature has a Committee of the Whole meeting planned for Wednesday morning, where they’ll continue discussing COVID-19 and its potential impacts on this year’s County Budget.

Statewide closures in place are expected to last several more weeks and have a significant effect on local economies and small businesses.

Wednesday’s meeting will be held remotely beginning at 9 am.

Cortland Common Council will also hold their monthly meeting via Zoom tomorrow night at 7:00, where city leaders will continue discussing their plans for managing the pandemic.

One major concern as the virus takes hold is a potential shortage of ventilators in New York hospitals.

Gov. Cuomo said yesterday that an order of 17,000 of these devices from the federal government has still not come through and that the Trump administration “can’t assure” if or when that might happen. More than 1,000 were donated over the weekend by a pair of billionaires in China, with another 500 sent by the states of Washington and Oregon.

The federal government has announced it will deploy 1,000 personnel including doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and therapists to help the state’s overwhelmed hospital systems.

That follows a controversial plan Cuomo announced last week, which hasn’t yet been implemented, but could soon force hospitals in the areas of less-severe impact to give up 20% of their ventilators to those battling the worst influx of patients.

The governor says the process would be facilitated by the National Guard and that the ventilators would later be redistributed Upstate as the cases begin their delayed peak northward from NYC.

He also issued an order allowing hospitals to convert bipap machines into ventilators where possible.

The pandemic is already having a significant impact on the school year for area students, with those at SUNY Cortland are now given a choice on how certain classes will be graded this semester .

They now have the option of either keeping traditional letter grades or converting them to a pass/fail option, with the process overseen by each student’s advisor on a case-by-case basis.

Class withdraw deadlines were also extended, and any academic suspension or dismissal deferred until the end of the Fall semester.

Reimbursements are being made for any unused housing, meals and other services.

Stay tuned with WXHC News for more local coverage along the way.

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