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COVID-19 Update: Clarification on Data Used to Determine CDC “Community Level,” Mask Advisory Suspension

(Ithaca, N.Y., March 1, 2022) -- The Tompkins County Health Department is clarifying information related to the suspension of the local mask advisory. The advisory has been suspended as TCHD used the community levels calculation available on the CDC website. To determine “community level,” TCHD used the latest available data published by the CDC cross referenced with data available locally from TCHD and Cayuga Health System.

According to the CDC website, Tompkins County is still at “high” for their previous metric, which focused only on case numbers. However, on Friday, Feb. 25th, the CDC introduced a new framework for measuring disease prevalence and severity, focused on health care capacity and preventing hospitalizations, as well as case numbers. Tompkins County is at level “low” using this new framework based on the following data: fewer than 200 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, less than ten new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 people at Cayuga Medical Center, and lower than 10 percent of staffed inpatient beds at the hospital occupied by COVID-19 patients. TCHD expects the CDC to update the data on their website to reflect these changes later this week.

TCHD also reminds the community that masks continue to be highly effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and that community members may continue to wear a mask if they choose to do so based on anticipated risk and personal preference. Tompkins County is making high-quality KN95 masks freely available to the community. Please refer to the TCHD website or call 2-1-1 for information on where these masks are available.

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

Media contact: Samantha Hillson, 607-274-6714 or