UPDATE: This story has been corrected from its original form. Initially, the story said that the Tompkins County Health Department blamed the spike in cases on one social gathering, but the release actually stated multiple social gatherings were at fault.

TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — Nine new positive COVID-19 cases have been reported by the Tompkins County Health Department Friday, all linked to a social gatherings.

The health department said contact tracing is ongoing, and anyone who is identified as a close contact is encouraged to get a test. Anyone who tests positive and has symptoms will be ordered into mandatory quarantine, according to the release.

The release does not specify whether or not the cases are related to any type of party involving college students.

“Following this increase in cases, the Tompkins County Health Department is reminding everyone in Tompkins County that even while gathering in small groups, mask requirements and keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others are critical to stopping the spread of the disease,” the release stated.

The health department said that small gatherings, such as this one, which don’t adhere to social distancing guidelines and mask-wearing are responsible for the rise in cases.

“It is evident from these cases that the size of the gathering, whether 10 people or 30, doesn’t matter. This virus spreads quickly and easily,” Health Director Frank Kruppa said in the release. “Everyone must remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread. Wearing a mask and staying six feet apart from others continue to be crucial to stopping the spread when individuals gather.”

According to the health department, there are now 18 active cases in Tompkins County, with the aforementioned nine new cases and two recoveries. There have been 51,036 tests administered, of which 49,772 have been returned negative. Of the 255 total positive cases, 237 have recovered and tested negative.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com