TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—The Tompkins County Health Department is warning the community against household gatherings with family and friends amid what seems to be another wave of COVID-19 cases, and has pointed out a number of clusters that have recently been discovered. There have now been 276 coronavirus cases detected over the last week, and 701 since the beginning of the month.

This means that about 25 percent of the county’s total number of COVID-19 positive tests since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 have been recorded in the last three weeks. The health department blamed household gatherings as the main source of spread, as well as spread within households once one person contracts the virus, workplace exposures and trainings, travel, and not following density and distance guidelines.

The health department also notified the community of five clusters, of unspecified size, that have been identified:

  • An unmasked gathering at a place of worship
  • A daycare setting
  • A law enforcement training event (awaiting confirmation on which municipality’s police force is impacted)
  • Two workplace settings

More information was not provided on these clusters. The county’s definition of a cluster is “three or more cases that are not housed together.” The county recently set its highest number of positive tests in a single day reported, with 62 earlier this week.

Public Health Director Frank Kruppa was quoted as saying “We are starting to see vaccines come into the community, but our distribution is constrained because of limited supply. We will do everything in our power to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, but we do not have local control over supply or eligibility. We do have control over what we do to keep one another safe—wearing a mask, keeping distance, and avoiding gatherings are still the most effective tools we have to stop the spread. Please know that when you take these precautions you contribute to the overall health and safety of our community.”

Once another batch of vaccines is available, the health department will be announcing more vaccination clinics. Those announcements will be made through:

  • Tompkins County Health Department Vaccination webpage
  • Press release to local news media
  • Swift 911 alerts
  • Email updates
  • If you do not have access to internet, or have additional questions about the vaccine, call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667)

Matt Butler

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