May 28, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 78°F


Cornell changes COVID-19 alert level to low to moderate risk

Update, 6:53 p.m.: Cornell University issued a statement Sept. 3 that the initial cluster has grown to 39 positive cases and that it expects the number of positive cases to grow as more test results come in. The majority of the cluster — 36 cases — are student athletes.

Original Story, 5:28 p.m.: Cornell University has changed its COVID-19 alert level from green, which means that cases are rare and transmission is controlled, to yellow, which means that there is a low to moderate risk of transmission.

There are now 47 total active cases at Cornell and 61 active cases in Tompkins County. The Tompkins County Health Department reported Sept. 2 that a cluster of 35 positive COVID-19 cases was related to several Cornell students holding small social gatherings in which social distancing and mask-wearing were not observed. A second cluster of eight positive cases was connected to Cornell and Tompkins Cortland Community College. Cornell began a combination of in-person and online instruction Sept. 2.

The shift to a low to moderate risk at Cornell means that the incidence of the virus is low, but there is an increased chance of transmission of the virus. Students are asked to wash their hands, maintain physical distancing and wear masks. The frequency of testing will be increased in certain populations, and Cornell may reduce capacities in on-campus buildings. Student gatherings will be limited to 10 people or fewer, and physical distancing and masks will be required. Visitors are not allowed on campus, and travel is strongly discouraged. 

There are over 24,000 students at Cornell. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Aug. 27 that if a college has 100 cases, or if the number of cases equals five percent of its student population, it must shift to remote learning for two weeks.

Of the 1,958 COVID-19 tests administered to members of the Ithaca College community since Aug. 14, there have been no positive results.

Ithaca College students who have attended gatherings but are asymptomatic are encouraged to get tested at the Athletics and Events Center. Testing is available for employees and off-campus students from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 4 and from 2 to 4 p.m. for on-campus students. Testing will be available from 9 to 10 a.m. for employees and off-campus students and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for on-campus students.

Students who are symptomatic are not permitted at the on-campus testing site and must go to the center at the Shops at Ithaca Mall.


Alexis Manore can be reached at or via Twitter: @AlexisManore