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March 22, 2021
HEALTH ALERT Recent Increase in COVID-19 Cases, Reporting Variants of Concern in Tompkins County
(Ithaca, NY – March 22, 2021) – The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) is alerting residents to an increased number of positive COVID-19 cases in the County. As of March 22, TCHD is reporting 150 active COVID-19 cases in Tompkins County, up from a low of 76 active cases on March 2. TCHD is reporting that a majority of the increase in cases result from social gatherings and travel. TCHD is also reporting a number of COVID-19 variants that have been sequenced and are included in the total active case numbers.
Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “We’re concerned with this recent rise in cases. While we’ve vaccinated nearly one third of our residents, the disease is still present. We have to do what we know works to stop the spread.” Kruppa continued, “while more people are allowed to gather under new guidance, it doesn’t mean that you can stop wearing masks and keeping distance. We’re seeing COVID-19 spread at private gatherings.”
New York State recently amended guidance regarding gatherings, TCHD has published that information on the website.
TCHD is reporting the following COVID-19 variants of concern that have been sequenced in positive cases of Tompkins County residents:
· UK B.1.1.7 (Commonly referred to as the U.K. variant)
· NYC B.1.526 (Commonly referred to as the New York City variant)
· CAL.20C (Commonly referred to as the Southern California variant)
Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “These variants are concerning because they may spread faster or could result in more severe disease. At this time, we are not asking the community to do anything beyond the current guidance to respond to the presence of these variants. Vaccination, mask wearing, hand washing, and distancing are still our most important tools to ensure less opportunity for variants and mutations to occur and spread.”
TCHD is reminding Tompkins County residents that COVID-19 testing continues to be a critical component to stop the spread of the disease. Individuals who are symptomatic or have a concern about a potential exposure should seek a test. Testing is free for Tompkins County residents, for more information on COVID-19 testing, visit the TCHD website.
TCHD continues to urge everyone who is eligible to sign up for the Tompkins County COVID-19 Vaccine Registry.
The Tompkins County Health Department is your partner for a healthy community. Find us online at TompkinsCountyNY.gov/health, and follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TompkinsPublicHealth and on Twitter at @TompkinsHealth.