TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Tompkins County has set another ominous record for positive coronavirus tests, registering 38 positive COVID-19 tests reported on Friday. There are now 158 active COVID-19 cases in Tompkins County, the highest since the start of the pandemic in March.

The health department has also released information about how certain cases have spread, including a concerning cluster at the Oak Hill Manor Nursing Home, where 10 cases have been discovered. There have also been “several cases related to travel” and “multiple cases from spread within households.”

“A higher prevalence of the disease in our community puts our most vulnerable community members at increased risk, including those at long-term care facilities,” said Frank Kruppa, the Tompkins County Public Health Director. “It’s on all of us to stop COVID-19 from spreading – and to keep one another healthy by reducing contacts and potential community spread. Oak Hill has taken steps to help prevent future transmission at their facility, and has communicated with families of residents on the recent positive cases and precautions they have put in place.”

“I urge you to carefully consider the choices you make about travel and gathering,” Kruppa continued. “These choices could have a profound effect on our entire community.”

Overall, positive test numbers have been jumping for the last two weeks or so, similar to nationwide trends as another wave of the coronavirus crests. Tompkins County hit a previous single day record last week when it recorded 30 positive tests on Nov. 12. In the last week, there have been 113 people test positive for the virus.

Small gatherings have been identified as one of the main sources of infection spread locally, including clusters found last week and mentioned above by the health department. The county, state and the Center for Disease Control have all now issued guidelines urging people to avoid traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently banned private gatherings over 10 people.

There has still been just one death in Tompkins County from the coronavirus.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com