ITHACA, N.Y. –– Over the weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an expansion of testing criteria to include all essential workers, in addition to those who are symptomatic or have been in close contact with an infected person.

“As many essential workers are still interacting directly with the public, increased testing is vital to stopping the spread of COVID-19. This increased testing will allow us to identify positive cases, and reduce potential exposures,” said Public Health Director Frank Kruppa in a statement Sunday. “I want to thank all of the essential workers in Tompkins County who are continuing to serve our community during this difficult time.”

Cayuga Health, which operates the county COVID-19 sampling center, said Monday that they are prepared to meet the new demand.

“Early on we identified the need to establish large-scale sampling of the community in the fight against COVID-19,” said President & CEO of Cayuga Health Martin Stallone. “Increased testing is vital to stopping the spread, especially for essential workers who interact directly with the public and are on the front lines continuing to serve our community.”

A list of essential workers is defined and frequently updated by New York State and can be found online.

As a reminder, sampling is to determine if you currently have COVID-19, anti-body testing is different.

Testing for COVID-19 is available at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site located at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwood Rd., between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Anyone who is symptomatic or came in close contact with a positive case, regardless of essential worker status, is still encouraged to seek testing.

Pre-register online or through the Call Center at (607) 319-5708. If you do not have symptoms, continue to work and follow social distancing guidance, wear a face covering, and wash your hands well and often. You will be contacted with results as soon as they are available.

If your test result is positive, you will be contacted by a Community Health Nurse who will conduct a contact investigation and provide instructions about self-isolation. See full guidance here.

Additionally, businesses and organizations deemed essential can make requests through this form for cloth masks and hand sanitizer for their employees. Guidance on the use of masks can be found here.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com