(Ithaca, N.Y.) – The Tompkins County Health Department is notifying the community that the local mask advisory to stop the spread of COVID-19 remains in effect. Tompkins County continues to be in a high transmission area as defined by the CDC. TCHD continues to urge mask wearing for all individuals while indoors and around others, as well as other precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. TCHD is also advising local businesses to continue to ask that patrons wear a mask while indoors and around others.
TCHD continues to closely monitor the number of new positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 and will continue to update the community on the prevalence of the disease in the community and prevention methods to stop the spread of COVID-19.
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.
On Wednesday, New York State announced the suspension of its indoor mask or vaccination requirement mandate following a recent decrease in the number of new positive cases and hospitalizations across the state. New York State is still requiring masks be worn in certain places including healthcare facilities, other state regulated facilities, schools and childcare centers, homeless shelters, and on public transportation.
The CDC still considers the State of New York a high transmission area with over 100 cases per 100,000 residents within the last seven days. New York State also clarified that the mask mandate for pK-12 school districts continues to be in effect and will be reconsidered in early March 2022 based on the latest metrics.
Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “We still have significant spread of COVID-19 in our community, due to the more contagious Omicron variant. We are also continuing to see double digit hospitalizations and sadly, some immunocompromised and older adults passing away due to the disease. This disease is still impacting people in our community every day and continuing to wear a mask is one of the best things we can do to keep one another healthy and safe. The NYS mandate being lifted will stop the enforcement of masking, but I am confident our community will respond as it has following our local advisory. We will continue to reassess community transmission and make changes to the mask advisory when sustained moderate transmission is observed. CDC defines moderate transmission as less than 50 cases per 100,000 residents.”
Kruppa continued, “The tools that we have to protect one another and ourselves from COVID-19 continue to become more effective and abundant, including vaccines and booster doses, self-tests, and high-quality masks. Our local rate of those receiving booster doses continues to increase and we’re urging you to get your booster dose through a pharmacy or your primary care provider as soon as you are able.”
The Tompkins County Health Department is your partner for a healthy community. Find us online at www2.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: Samantha Hillson, 607-274-6714 or firstname.lastname@example.org