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Today's Top Stories - Monday April 20th, 2020

Yesterday afternoon, the Steuben County Public Health Department reported the deaths of four more people who previously tested positive for COVID-19.  Friday, two additional deaths from the virus were also reported. These latest cases bring the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 27. Of the latest four, one victim was a 77-year-old woman from the Village of Wayland who died while hospitalized outside the county.  Another was a 79-year-old woman from a nursing home in the Hornell area who died while hospitalized. Another was an 81- year-old man from the City of Corning who died while hospitalized, and the fourth individual was a 68-year-old male from a nursing home in the Hornell area who died while hospitalized outside the county.  Public Health Director Darlene Smith said “The loss of four more individuals is heartbreaking.” 

The Steuben County Public Health Department reports that four additional Steuben County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Five additional cases were also reported Friday evening.  These latest cases bring the total to 195 confirmed cases. Of the latested four, two of those infected for from the city of Hornell and one each from the Villages of Hammondsport and Wayland. One or more of the individuals are linked with previously reported cases.  Included is an additional case related to the mass testing conducted at Elderwood at Hornell as well as a case from Hornell Gardens. The individuals are currently being isolated and monitored by the Steuben County Health Department.

Friday afternoon it was announced services provided by the Steuben County Public Health Department employees during the COVID-19 pandemic are in line for funding through the New York State Department of Health's COVID-19 Response Grant. The state grant worth over $158,000 will pay for various COVID-19-related expenses. County Public Health Director Darlene Smith says about 90 percent of the grant will cover overtime for county Public Health nurses, medical supplies and mileage and 10 percent of the grant will be used for additional administrative costs. 

State Department of Labor has announced they have launched an application to allow New Yorkers to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance without needing to file for traditional unemployment assistance first. Those who file now do not have to call the Department of Labor and instead can complete the online application at: unemployment.labor.ny.gov. 

Governer Cuomo announced plans to re-open New York State during this morning's daily press briefing as he said he believed "the worst is over" with the pandemic as the curve continues to flatten. Part of the plan involves talking with governors of neighboring states to prepare a regional approach to re-opening the economy. Cuomo also said the reopening objective will be to ease isolation, increase economic activity, re-evaluate the definition of "essential worker", having more testing and precautions and not increase the infection rate. Five states have joined New York to create a reopening plan and a date for when the plans will be available has not yet been announced. 

Today the State Department of Health begins to conduct a statewide antibody testing survey. The survey will sample 3,000 people for a population of 19.5 million people. Large-scale antibody testing will help determine the percentage of the population that is now immune to the virus, allowing more individuals to safely return to work. Governor Cuomo said this will be the first true snapshot of exactly how many people were infected by COVID-19 and will help the state to reopen and rebuild.

New York Farm Bureau issues a statement over the weekend saying it appreciates USDA’s plan to provide emergency economic aid to NYS farmers in light of the serious market disruptions and collapsed commodity prices related to the COVID-19 pandemic. $16 billion will now be directed to farm families along with $3 billion to purchase meat, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. Farm Bureau President David Fisher also said he applauds the initiative to get more food from the farm to food banks to help New Yorkers in need. He said no farmer wants to see food go to waste but is sometimes left with no other choice considering the major challenges confronting the food distribution chain.

After investigating a burglary in the Town of Erwin, State Police arrested 23-year-old Veronda L. Butts of South Corning and 38-year-old Mary L. Beam of Hornell. Each was charged with felony second-degree residential burglary. Each was detained in lieu of cash bail.

A traffic stop in Allegany County early Sunday resulted in the arrest of a Hornell man. Troopers said they pulled over 25-year-old Dallas Snyder on County Road 15A in Grove. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and having a BAC above .08%. He’ll appear in court at a later date.

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