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posticon Local Company Develops Automated COVID-19 Test

News | Friday, April 03, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Rheonix  Encompass workstationRheonix Senior Regulatory Specialist Daniela Bocioaga, Ph.D. loading an Encompass workstation

What if you could handle every COVID-19 test in Tompkins County using a couple of machines that look like giant microwave ovens.  And what if you could load the devices and walk away until the tests are done, only four hours later?   And what if the samples were self-contained within the machines and automatically destroyed after tests complete, leaving the biological waste remains in a disposable cartridge so technicians are not exposed to the coronavirus?  And what if the tests were lower cost than the current testing procedures?  And what if local health departments and hospitals could have the machines on-site, eliminating the time and cost to transport test samples out of town?

That's what scientists at Rheonix, Inc., a company in the Village of Lansing, asked themselves when they began developing a test kit for their Encompass MDx® workstation about a month ago.  When the device was put on the market about three years ago it was used to detect spoilage organisms in beer during the brewing process, and since has been used for other kinds of food safety testing.  But the machine can also be used for medical testing, and the company has spent the past four years going through the process with the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to get the machine certified to test for sexually transmitted diseases.  But with the pandemic quickly reaching crisis proportions, the FDA has instituted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) procedures that may mean the Rheonix device could be certified for use as early as next week.

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posticon Town Parks Open, Village Parks Closed

News | Friday, April 03, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Myers Park

Some parks in Lansing are open, some are closed, but all playgrounds are closed, including those at the Lansing school campus.  On Monday Lansing Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne said all playgrounds on town property are closed, but parks would remain open.  He added that the basketball courts at Myers Park, Ludlowville Park and the Town ball fields are off limits until further notice.  Village of Lansing Mayor Donald Hartill announced Tuesday that he directed Superintendent of Public Works John Courtney to close all Village parks.

"It was very difficult for me to do because I know how much people enjoy being outside and enjoying the playground equipment and the game fields. But as Mayor, I am responsible for carefully guarding the health and welfare of our citizens, especially our younger ones."

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posticon Private Employer's Staff Member at Airport Tests Positive

News | Friday, April 03, 2020 | By Dominick Recckio Print
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Tompkins County officials were notified a week ago by a private employer at the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport that one of their employees had tested positive for COVID-19. The Tompkins County Health Department has completed a thorough contact investigation to identify close contacts and potential exposures; the individual has been at home in isolation since samples were collected on 3/22.

Anyone identified as having potentially been exposed was notified and provided further steps to take which include self-quarantine and/or testing.

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posticon NYS On Hold Extended

News | Friday, April 03, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Sunday all NYS on Pause functions will be extended for another two weeks. The Governor also directed the state nonessential workforce to continue to work from home for an additional two weeks through April 15th. Cuomo said the state will re-evaluate after this additional two-week period.

In-person workforce restrictions, which have been implemented through various Executive Orders —202.3 (restaurants and bars, gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters and casinos); 202.4 (local government workforces, school districts; village elections); 202.5 (malls, public amusement facilities); 202.6 (all non-essential reduce 50%); 202.7 (barber shops, salons, other personal care); 202.8 (DMV); 202.10 (non-essential gatherings of any size); 202.11 (extension of school district closure until April 15, 2020) — are also extended until April 15, 2020 to enable uniform extension and review of such restrictions, and any such restrictions may be extended by future executive orders.

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posticon NYS Hospital Network Central Coordinating Team Established

News | Friday, April 03, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday that a new hospital network Central Coordinating Team that will help facilitate a more coordinated and strategic approach among the state's healthcare system in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coordinating team will help implement the statewide public-private hospital plan, which the Governor announced yesterday, to share information, supplies, staff and patients among hospitals across the State. The team will be responsible for organizing upstate to downstate staffing; assisting Elmhurst Hospital and other stressed hospitals; setting patient thresholds for hospitals; organizing patient transfers to other hospitals and the USNS Comfort; coordinating State-City stockpiles and individual hospital stockpiles; and facilitating staffing recruitment.

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