Ben Parker / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

The Fischell Band Center COVID-19 testing site. Tompkins County confirmed its first COVID-19 resident death Monday afternoon.

August 29, 2020

Cornell Identifies First COVID-19 Student Cluster on Campus

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On Friday, Tompkins County Health Department identified the first cluster of nine COVID-19 cases at Cornell, following several small social gatherings where people did not social distance or wear masks. A COVID-19 cluster is five or more connected cases. The county now has 18 active cases.

Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi, confirmed that those exposed were Cornell students in an email on Saturday. The last time Tompkins County saw over 18 active cases was Aug. 7, with 19 cases.

All of the students in the cluster are in isolation and are receiving check-ins, Lombardi wrote. The students’ names were not disclosed, but Tompkins County Health Department contact tracers will reach out to anyone who may have been exposed during their infectious period.

Lombardi reminded students to abide by the behavioral compact, which includes rules limiting the size of social gatherings, and requires mask wearing and physical distancing. According to Lombardi’s email, multiple students have already been temporarily suspended for reported violations of the behavioral compact.

“This is not our desired outcome, but as I stated yesterday, we will not hesitate to do so if the safety of our community is jeopardized,” Lombardi wrote about the temporary suspensions.

Students can report those breaking the behavioral health compact to Cornell, and can report non-COVID-19 safety rule compliant workplaces to the New York State Department of Labor. Information regarding COVID-19 prevention and care as well as information about the spread of COVID-19 on campus can be found on Cornell’s COVID-19 dashboard.