ITHACA, N.Y. — The Tompkins County Health Department announced the county’s first case of COVID-19 in a nursing home on Monday.
The positive person is asymptomatic and was identified through routine screening procedures, according to TCHD. They are in isolation at the facility and all close contacts have been identified and are in quarantine. The New York State Department of Health assumes the responsibility of conducting a contact trace investigation in conjunction with the local health department when a nursing home resident tests positive.
A New York Times investigation found that 20% of New York’s nation-leading 32,000 COVID-19 deaths were connected to long-term care facilities. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been on the receiving end of sharp criticism for early policies requiring facilities to accept COVID-positive patients.
All staff, residents, and family members of all residents have been notified that a positive case has been identified.
The Tompkins County Health Department is working closely with the facility to ensure all safety protocols are being followed, said TCHD in a statement.
“The facility has implemented and acted on protocols designed to ensure the health and safety of their residents and staff. They were able to quickly identify this positive case and place the individual in isolation, reducing the potential for further exposures to the disease,” said Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “Older individuals and individuals with pre-existing conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and it is critical that all nursing facilities continue routine screening and testing to identify any future cases and stop the spread.”