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Health Alert: COVID-19 and Flu Case Numbers Increase; Caution Urged for Holiday Season

(ITHACA, NY, December 18, 2023) – Tompkins County Whole Health (TCWH) is alerting the community to recent increases in local COVID-19 and influenza (flu) case numbers. Safety measures are advised, especially with the increase in gatherings and travel that occur during this time of the year.

In Tompkins County, COVID-19 cases have increased by 47% over the past two weeks, with 59 cases being reported in the past week. In New York State, flu cases have increased by 44% in the past week, with 21 positive cases reported in our county in the past week.

Tompkins County Whole Health Commissioner Frank Kruppa stated, “Please take the following steps to reduce your risk of getting or sharing respiratory illnesses this holiday season: wash your hands well and often, get tested if you are experiencing symptoms or have had a recent exposure, stay home if sick, wear a high-quality mask when needed, and get vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu if you have not already done so.”

COVID-19 test kits can be ordered for free through USPS for delivery to your home. Test kits and KN95 masks for youth and adults remain available at local libraries and municipal centers, free of cost, to Tompkins County residents. Tests and masks may also be picked up at our office at 55 Brown Road, Ithaca, during business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm).

To schedule an appointment to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or the flu, call your primary care provider or schedule with a local pharmacy. You can also use the website www.vaccines.gov to find a location near you. If you need assistance in scheduling an appointment online, dial 2-1-1 to speak with the helpline. 

The flu vaccine, including the high-dose flu vaccine, is available at TCWH’s on-site immunization clinics for children and adults with or without health insurance. To schedule an appointment time, call TCWH Community Health Services at 607-274-6604.  

The new COVID-19 vaccine is also available at our on-site immunization clinics, though this vaccine is limited for children and adults who are eligible for the state funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) and Vaccines for Adults (VFA) programs.

Children less than 19 years of age may be eligible for VFC if they:
  • Are currently enrolled in Medicaid.
  • Have Child Health Plus.
  • Are underinsured: their insurance does not cover the vaccine.
  • Do not have insurance.
  • Are Native American or Alaska Native.
Adults ages 19 and over may be eligible for VFA if they:
  • Are underinsured: your insurance does not cover the vaccine.
  • Do not have insurance.

To check your eligibility or to schedule an appointment time, call TCWH Community Health Services at 607-274-6604.

For additional COVID-19 information, please visit our website:  tompkinscountyny.gov/health/covid19.

Tompkins County Whole Health (formerly the Tompkins County Health Department and Mental Health Services) envisions a future where every person in Tompkins County can achieve wellness. Find us online at TompkinsCountyNY.gov/health, and follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/TompkinsWholeHealth and on Twitter at @TCWholeHealth. Get Whole Health updates or other county announcements via email or text, sign up here.

Media contact: Shannon Alvord, salvord@tompkins-co.org