Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

No new cases have been detected in the past two days at the University, with about over 8,000 tests administered.

September 16, 2020

Cornell Reports Two Straight Days of Zero Cases, Marking Turnaround From Rocky Start to Semester

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In a turn of events, Cornell has reported zero new COVID-19 cases for the past two days, after initially experiencing fears that campus would have to swiftly shut down within the first couple of weeks of the semester.

During the past two days, Cornell conducted a total of 8,911 tests, according to the University’s COVID-19 dashboard. There are currently only three positive cases on campus — a number that only accounts for students living on campus or living in the greater Ithaca area and taking at least one in-person class. From Sept. 8 to Sept. 14, Cornell reported 29 positive cases.

Nearly two weeks ago, Cornell entered a yellow alert level, indicating a low to moderate risk level on campus. The shift up in alert levels primarily stemmed from a cluster tied to small social gatherings. The cluster initially only included nine students, but grew to 39 within days – 36 of the 39 cases were among student athletes.

At the time, Provost Micheal Kotlikoff and Vice President for Campus and Student Life Ryan Lombardi admonished the students, writing that “there is the potential for just a few small student gatherings to destroy all our plans for an in-person semester.” President Martha E. Pollack warned Cornell in an email that staying below 100 new cases in two weeks would be “extremely difficult.”

Cornell’s dashboard is still at a yellow alert level, despite the drop in cases. Under a yellow alert level, student gatherings larger than 10 people are prohibited, and in-person and hybrid classes can still continue, but the University may undertake efforts to de-densify campus.

Tompkins County has also seen a sharp decrease in active COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, the Tompkins County Health Department reported three new cases and 39 active cases. Just one week ago, Tompkins County had 80 active cases and on Sept. 3, the county saw its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases at 25 new cases.