Tompkins County Courthouse

Update: A third employee of the Tompkins County Courthouse has now tested positive for COVID-19, according to an announcement from the New York State Office of Court Administration. 

The person has been at home in isolation since their samples were taken, though that date is not specified. They were last at the courthouse on March 20, and the courthouse has "taken precaution to thoroughly deep clean and disinfect."

"A contact investigation is underway and is being conducted by the Tompkins County Health Department nurses to identify close contacts and will advise them as to what steps they need to take," the announcement said. "The Health Department will notify anyone who may have been exposed and will advise them as to what steps they need to take."

This third test is in addition to two court officers who tested positive. One was announced by the court system, and another was told to the Ithaca Times by several sources. There have been no plans announced to close the courthouse thus far. The previous positive case had last been at the courthouse on March 17. 

Original story: Multiple people from the Tompkins County Courthouse have tested positive for COVID-19 over the last week, several sources told the Ithaca Times on Wednesday. More have had samples taken and are waiting to hear back about the possibility they have the illness. 

Two people have tested positive, according to sources, with potentially more to come. One courthouse source said four more tests were pending as of Wednesday afternoon. 

The New York State Unified Court System had announced on Wednesday that a "court employee" had tested positive for the coronavirus (or COVID-19), but according to sources there is at least one more. Sources told the Ithaca Times that the testing focus right now is the courthouse guard staff, who monitor the building's entrances and courtrooms. They are employed by New York State, not Tompkins County. According to the state's announcement, the person has been "at home in isolation since samples were collected" on March 17. 

The state also said that the Tompkins County Health Department had completed its contact investigation into the person's case and had contacted anyone who may have been exposed and instructed them on the necessary next steps. 

"The courthouse has taken precaution to thoroughly deep clean and disinfect," the state's announcement said. 

Tompkins County District Attorney Matt Van Houten said in an interview that his office had been told yesterday that there was a positive test among the building's staff, but had not been told anything official about any other positive tests. 

New York State Chief Clerk Mary Hodges said she was not in her office Wednesday and could only confirm what had been announced by the court system publicly about the single positive case. 

Tompkins County currently has 18 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon, with over 200 samples still awaiting testing. There have been other confirmed cases at Ithaca College, Cornell University and the DeWitt Middle School community in Ithaca. 

(2) comments

Franklins Ghost

Ultimately 60-70% of the population is supposed to get this virus. Is the media going to breathlessly keep a tally as the bug burrows deeper and deeper into the population? This thing is not worth ruining the economy over. Isolate the vulnerable elders and people with pre-existing conditions and lets get the country back to work. Ten thousand people+ a year die from the regular flu. tens of thousands of people die every year from car accidents or cancer or any number of other causes. It's not worth sending the nation into a Great Depression II over.

Dwight Mengel

The above is a naive comment devoid of concern for public health.

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