(Ithaca, N.Y., May 2, 2022) – The Tompkins County Health Department is reiterating its mask advisory and encouraging the community to continue to be patient as the spread of COVID-19 impacts services in the community. The mask advisory was issued on 4/27/2022 due to the increased spread of COVID-19 in the community and an increase in local hospitalizations. The CDC has placed Tompkins County in the “High Community Transmission” category, which further recommends that everyone resume mask wearing while indoors in public and on public transportation.
Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “With the number of cases that we’re seeing, it’s likely that it is impacting people’s ability to be at work and provide services at the level that we’re used to. Please be patient with people and businesses, as many are understaffed and experiencing an increased amount of stress and pressure at this time. It’s important that people stay home when they are sick and follow guidance after testing positive. I thank everyone who is doing the right thing and following the guidance.” Kruppa continued, “The mask advisory is in place because we’re seeing a higher level of community and workplace spread. Wearing a high-quality mask while around others in public can disrupt transmission and has been an effective tool in controlling the number of positive cases in our community.”
TCHD is also clarifying that this is an advisory, not a mandate. TCHD encourages the public to wear a mask, though it is not mandated by law or order at this time, with the exception of public transit or when in a healthcare or congregate setting as defined by New York State.
Tompkins County is Under a Mask Advisory, Wear a High-Quality Mask To Protect Yourself 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
- Updated “Masks Preferred” and “Masks Required” signage for public spaces available for download.
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 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.
- Vaccine doses are currently available at local pharmacies and primary care offices. Please contact your pharmacy or doctor to discuss availability or visit the TCHD website for more information.
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