(Ithaca, N.Y. April 27) – The Tompkins County Health Department is issuing a health advisory encouraging all residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask while indoors and around others in public settings, in addition to continuing other precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. TCHD calculates that Tompkins County will likely be in a high transmission area as defined by the CDC following today’s reported 14 hospitalizations and a continued increase in the number of new positive cases over the past several weeks.
Following this advisory, Tompkins County is asking all County employees and patrons to wear a mask while indoors in County facilities regardless of vaccination status (though it is not required at this time) and is encouraging other local organizations to do the same for their employees & patrons. Printable signage from TCHD related to mask-wearing and other resources can be found here.
Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “We’re seeing a higher number of positive cases locally as well as an increase in hospitalizations. This advisory is alerting the community to our strong recommendation that you wear a mask while indoors and around others in public settings, as this will limit spread, help bring down our positive case and hospitalization numbers, and help protect vulnerable community members.” Kruppa continued, “We are monitoring the data on cases and hospitalizations daily, and will continue to do so in order to make the best advisements to the Tompkins County community. At this time you should wear a mask while indoors and around others.”
Tompkins County is Under a Mask Advisory, Wearing a High-Quality Mask Can Protect You and Others
- Under the mask advisory, TCHD encourages mask wearing while indoors and around others.
- High-quality masks (KN95 or N95) continue to be one of the best ways to protect yourself and others.
- High-quality KN95 masks are freely available to the community. Please refer to the TCHD website or call 2-1-1 for information on where these masks are available.
- For more information on how to most effectively wear a KN95 mask, TCHD has published a video with instructions.
- Any individual may choose to wear a mask in any situation based on personal preference.
- TCHD continues to recommend that you wear a mask when you are around others:
- Who are ill
- Who may not be vaccinated against COVID-19
- Who are at high risk of severe illness
- If you are immunocompromised or at high risk of severe illness from the virus
- On public transit or in a healthcare or congregate setting as defined by New York State where masks are required
Get Tested if You Experience Symptoms, Self-Test Before Gathering with Others
- If you are feeling ill or symptomatic for COVID-19, seek a test through Cayuga Health System or your healthcare provider. Tests are free and available for Tompkins County residents at the Cayuga Health System testing site at the Shops at Ithaca Mall (40 Catherwood Rd.). Appointments are required. Go online or call: 607-319-5708.
- Self-tests are recommended for individuals who do not have symptoms and are seeking quick results to identify infection or increase confidence that you are not positive for COVID-19.
- A self-test can be used as a prevention measure before gathering indoors with others who are not in your household. This is especially important before gathering with individuals who are unvaccinated, older individuals, those who are immunocompromised, or individuals at greater risk of severe disease.
- Free self-test kits can be ordered for delivery to your home via USPS or can be found locally in various locations.
- If your self-test result is positive, Complete the Self-Test Reporting Form for Tompkins County residents. The online form will ask for basic contact information and to upload a photo of your test kit result.
- Therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 are available through pharmacies and healthcare providers in Tompkins County. Those who test positive, especially those that are an older adult or at high risk of illness may be eligible for treatment options that can be prescribed by a doctor. Patients seeking treatment should not contact the pharmacy or location directly, but instead contact their primary care physician to receive a prescription. Anyone who does not currently have a primary care physician or who is uninsured and seeking a local provider should call 2-1-1 (1-877-211-8667).
Stay Up To Date on Vaccinations to Prevent Severe Disease
- TCHD is encouraging eligible residents to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccination.
- Vaccines are safe, effective, and continue to show increased protection from severe illness from 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.
Media contact: Shannon Alvord, firstname.lastname@example.org