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Tompkins County announced the receipt of a $150,000 investment at the end of August from Cornell University towards the ongoing local COVID-19 response. The financial support will aid the County's efforts to identify positive cases and stop the spread of the disease in the community.

"What I'm hearing from my colleagues around the state is that this kind of collaboration with higher education partners is unique — Cornell has been responsive and engaged since the beginning of the pandemic," said Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Public Health Director. "We're grateful for Cornell's investment to support our efforts."

Cornell University has invested in the public health response both on and off campus. This summer the Health Department worked with Cornell University to increase contact investigation capacity by training new contact tracers at Cornell Health. Cornell has also initiated a wide-scale surveillance testing program for their students, faculty, and staff. To date, Cornell reports a low positivity rate in its gateway testing, and the Health Department maintains capacity to meet contact tracing needs in the community.

"We value our partnership and are pleased to play a role in supporting the County's COVID-19 response to promote the health and well-being of all County residents," said Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack. "Cornell University applauds Chairwoman Leslyn McBean-Clairborne and the Tompkins County Legislature, Administrator Jason Molino, and Health Department Director Frank Kruppa for their steadfast, proactive leadership during the pandemic."

The County's Emergency Operations Center and Health Department have led the public health response in Tompkins County throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing response includes supporting increased testing, rigorous contact tracing investigations, issuing mandatory quarantine and isolation orders and conducting daily communications with those individuals, and sharing critical public health information and guidance.

Jason Molino, Tompkins County Administrator, stated, "At the County's Emergency Operations Center, we have collaborated closely with Cornell and all of our higher ed partners throughout COVID-19. This investment in our response efforts comes alongside members of the Cornell team working tirelessly with the County and our Health Department to ensure that plans are thorough and well-executed to protect the public's health."

Kruppa added, "Cornell's plan includes wide-scale testing throughout the semester that will help keep the disease from spreading. As we identify new positive cases, the Health Department will continue to run contact investigations and isolate and quarantine individuals in partnership with Cornell. Cornell's caution and collaboration are contributing to the current low prevalence of COVID-19 in Tompkins County."

In applauding Cornell's investment, Tompkins County Legislature Chairwoman Leslyn McBean-Clairborne said, "On behalf of our entire community, I'd like to thank Cornell University for showing leadership and dedication to Tompkins County. The County has worked tirelessly for months to stop the spread and has diverted an unprecedented amount of resources to our local response. This investment will support everyone in our community and reflects the university's ongoing commitment to its neighbors in Tompkins County."

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