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COVID-19 Update: Changes in Data Reporting

The Tompkins County Health Department is communicating changes to the daily COVID-19 data updates and other COVID-19-related data on the TCHD website. These changes coincide with the shift in contact tracing and case investigation to New York State announced previously. TCHD continues to focus on severe disease, hospitalizations, and deaths related to COVID-19 and will continue to report those data points moving forward.

These changes will go into effect on Monday, January 31.

COVID-19 Data Table

Since March 14, 2020, TCHD has reported COVID-19 data daily to inform the community of the status of disease and monitoring. This table has changed over time as the pandemic response evolved and TCHD had access to more information. TCHD data reporting will be adjusted to best reflect the recent changes to COVID-19 guidance, including the shorter infectious period of the current variant, shortened isolation and quarantine periods, and a prioritization of positive case investigation.

Beginning January 31, the TCHD Data Table will be posted with the changes summarized below and the table will be updated Monday-Friday. The cumulative spreadsheet will continue to be updated with weekend information on Monday of each week, or the next business day if a holiday. The Data Page will continue to have regularly updated graphs. An explainer graphic will be available on the Data Page to accompany the updated table.

The COVID-19 data table will continue to include testing, new positive cases, and total positive cases. The new positive case data includes all positive test results that are lab-certified (PCR and antigen), including all test results processed by the Cayuga Health Sampling Site.  

TCHD will no longer report the number of active cases or individuals released from isolation, as the State is now leading case investigation. NYS has the capacity to interview all positive cases through a telephone call, regardless of age, to screen for any needs during isolation and risk of severe illness. All positive cases are referred to the NYS self-affirmation forms, which serve as the case’s isolation order, release, and documentation for school or work. Additionally, as self-tests have become more available and widely used, not all results are reported.

TCHD will continue to report active COVID-19 hospitalizations at Cayuga Medical Center (including patients who are not Tompkins County residents), Tompkins County resident deaths attributed to COVID-19, reported positive self-tests through the TCHD portal, and vaccination rate progress from the NYS vaccine tracker. Positive self-test results that are not reported through the TCHD self-test portal are not included in the daily table.

Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director stated, “While our priorities in responding to the pandemic have transitioned recently, our commitment to monitoring the severity of disease and hospitalization in our community has not changed. Our daily data reports have given a snapshot to the community about the status of disease, but we recognize that the real-time accuracy of this data is decreasing due to the changes in guidance and our increased understanding of the disease. We acknowledge that with the increased availability and reliability of self-tests, the Health Department no longer receives notice of all positive test results. We encourage residents to continue using our self-test reporting portal, but many may choose to also use the State affirmation forms. The self-test number serves as a data point, but by no means captures the total positive cases in our community.”

Kruppa continued, “Our best tools to prevent spread, severe illness, and hospitalization continue to be vaccination, masking, and knowing what to do if you test positive or if you have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID. I encourage you to refer to our website for more information about steps to take if you test positive. Over the past few weeks, our efforts have focused on vaccinating our young people and providing booster doses to those who are eligible. We are distributing self-tests and masks throughout the county as we receive shipments and thank our community partners for assisting in this effort.”

COVID-19 Local Data webpage

TCHD will continue to regularly update the graphs on the Local Data webpage. All graphs will remain except the source of exposure for positive cases and the vaccination status of positive cases as this information is no longer collected through the case investigation interview. Positive self-test results are not included in the graphs on the data page. In addition to the TCHD data page, NYS has a data dashboard that monitors key aspects of COVID-19.

The Tompkins County Health Department is your partner for a healthy community. Find us online at TompkinsCountyNY.gov/health, and follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TompkinsPublicHealth and on Twitter at @TompkinsHealth. Sign up to receive COVID-19 updates or other county announcements via email or text.

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