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2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The 2019 novel coronavirus is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and TCHD will continue to implement guidance from the CDC and NYS DOH. TCHD is working closely with Tompkins County Administration, elected officials, and community partners, including Cayuga Health Services and other healthcare providers. Remember that social distancing must continue to be a community effort — one in which everyone plays a part. The health and well-being of our community is our top priority.

As of 03/27/20 at 4:30 pm. Source: TCHD
Pending Test Results for COVID-19 Positive Test Results Negative Test Results Total Tested
628 48 515 1,191

Why are we removing quarantine numbers?
With the significant increase in the number of individuals being tested for COVID-19 at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site, the numbers of individuals in quarantine and isolation have also increased. This, combined with the growing awareness of situations that may cause individuals to self-quarantine, has made the “In Quarantine” and “Released from Quarantine” numbers increasingly difficult to track accurately. TCHD is working closely with Cayuga Health to provide accurate testing and case numbers daily.

Health Advisory Update (3/27/2020): Health Department Urges the Public to Stay Home as COVID-19 Cases Increase
    • TCHD press releases.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
About Washing Your Hands (video)
Social Distancing
Cayuga Health Sampling Site (How it works, what to expect)
Posters: Warnings and How-to posters in English, Spanish, Chinese, Burmese, and Karen.

Status of Health Department Services

(MARCH 18, 2020) Tompkins County is temporarily reducing its onsite workforce in compliance with an executive order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On March 16, Cuomo ordered local governments to pare down workforces as the COVID-19 situation evolves. This allows non-essential personnel to work from home or take leave. These measures will reduce, temporarily, the County’s onsite workforce by 60%. Read full county press release here.

The following Health Department programs have been suspended:
  • Early Intervention
  • Healthy Neighborhoods Program
  • Immunizations
  • MOMS
  • Preschool Special Education Services
  • SafeCare
  • WIC will take appointments via phone call at 607-274-6630 through March 31st. WIC will continue to provide benefits remotely.
  • Environmental Health will have limited public contact; electronic and phone communication is encouraged.

The public is encouraged to call ahead with inquiries about services. (607) 274-6600.

Quick Links

All About Washing Your Hands

Watch this great 3 minute video from the CDC to get a close look at why and how to wash your hands often.
Click to open in YouTube. May not display in all browsers.

Attention Travelers: If you recently traveled internationally, you may have received an email message from Tompkins County Health Department asking you to contact the Health Department. Please reply to the email and provide the information requested. This is a vital part of tracing how COVID could spread in our community.

Residents can now call 2-1-1 for up-to-date information about COVID-19.

2-1-1 Logo imageFor general questions 2-1-1 operators will have the most up-to-date information and guidance provided by the Tompkins County Health Department. “2-1-1 is a trusted resource in our community, and they can ensure that the public’s inquiries are responded to in the most efficient manner,” said Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director.

2-1-1 should be used for non-medical inquiries only. Calls regarding health and medical inquiries should be directed to the Health Department at 607-274-6604. If you are experiencing symptoms, including cough, fever and shortness of breath, call your health care provider.


While there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and other viruses, these simple steps can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information and links, visit our COVID-19 page.

Health Department Advises use of Anti-flu Medications

Everyone should get a flu shot, but it does not always provide complete protection. The flu is widespread, and early indications suggest the vaccine is working less well this year. Many people are going to doctor’s offices with flu symptoms, including some who were vaccinated this season.

If you are exposed to the flu, anti-flu medicines Relenza and Tamiflu can make a difference when they are prescribed, and may prevent you from getting sick. Your healthcare practitioner is your best source for advice on these medications. If you did not get a flu shot this year, it’s still not too late. Read the full press release for more information.

Task Force Report:
Review of The Tompkins County Mental Health and Public Health Leadership Models 2019

A shared leadership model for the Tompkins County Mental Health and Public Health Departments has been in place for four years. County Administration reviewed the opportunities and challenges for this leadership model and provided a recommendation to the Legislature. Read the Overview and download the full report here.

Protect Yourself this Flu Season

It is flu season and Tompkins County often experiences a peak of flu illness during January and February when holiday travelers return to the area. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu -related hospitalizations and death. If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine yet, now’s the time!

Click here to learn the signs of complications and emergency warning signs of flu.

Learn Your Flu Facts
Dr. Cynthia Leifer, Cornell Professor of Immunology, gives you the facts about the flu. Watch the Video!

Back to School Immunizations

September will be here before we know it, and that means back to school! School supplies, new clothes, and immunizations! School immunizations are important. They protect children from disease and from exposing those who are vulnerable and cannot be immunized.

In New York, there are steps to take to be ready for starting school:
  • Proof of immunization must be provided within 14 calendar days after the first day of school instruction in September.
  • The student must have at least 1 dose of all age-appropriate required immunizations.
  • Within 30 days of the first day of attendance, students must have age-appropriate appointments scheduled for the next follow-up doses to complete the immunizations series in accordance with the CDC catch-up schedule.
  • Click here for the schedule for immunizations required to attend school in NYS:
  • If you have any questions about your child’s immunizations, please contact your health care practitioner or the Health Department, 607-274-6604.

In June 2019, a new law was passed that removed religious exemption from school immunizations. Students may receive a medical exemption from vaccination if written by a physician (not a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant) licensed to practice medicine in New York State. The medical exemption needs to be submitted yearly and address specific vaccines and medical conditions.

For more information about immunizations, visit the county health department’s website:

If you have any questions about your child’s immunizations, please contact your health care practitioner or the Tompkins County Health Department, 607-274-6604. Full 8/14 press release here.

HABs Alert: Harmful Blue-Green Algae Reported in Tompkins County

Photo of HABs along a Cayuga Lake shorelineMultiple blue-green algae blooms, also known as HABs (Harmful Algal Blooms), have been reported in the Tompkins County portion of Cayuga Lake this summer and monitoring is continuing. These blooms may be small in size and confined to specific areas of the shoreline and bays. Areas where blooms are not observed can continue to be used for recreational use.

The Tompkins County Health Department urges residents and visitors to beware of blue-green algae. These blooms can occur in any calm body of water and may produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals. Do not drink the water and avoid contact with the water if it appears discolored or has an unpleasant odor. To learn more about HABs and for links to other resources, Click Here. The full 7/11/19 press release is here.

National HIV Testing Day

HAVE YOU been tested for HIV? June 27 was National HIV Testing Day and it serves as an important reminder to know your status. The CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once, as part of routine health care. The only way to know for sure is to get tested, and by getting tested, you can keep yourself and your community healthy by decreasing the risk of transmission. You can get a fast, free, anonymous HIV test at the Tompkins County Health Department. Call 607-274-6604 to schedule your appointment today.

Click here for information about the Talk-Test-Treat campaign, and about the pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP), which reduces the risk of high risk individuals getting HIV by 70%–90%.

Summer Camp and Immunizations

Summer camp season is around the corner and the Tompkins County Health Department reminds families to protect campers from illness. Contagious diseases, such as measles, can spread easily at camp. When the measles virus gets into the air, it can stay for two hours, and anyone who is not immune can get measles if they are in that area. The New York State Department of Health reports that there are over 300 confirmed cases of measles in our State outside of NYC.

Know if you and your family are immune. If you are not immune, get vaccinated. Click here for five steps you should follow to protect yourself, your family, and other campers.

Health Department Wins Model Practice Awards

Tompkins County is one of 53 local health departments across the country to be recognized for innovative public health projects in response to critical local public health needs. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) announced that Tompkins County Health Department is the recipient of two 2019 Model Practice Awards for Ithaca College Public Health Initiatives and the SafeCare Program.

“We are honored to receive NACCHO’s Model Practice Award. The awards are evidence of our commitment to developing responsive and innovative public health programs that improve the health of local residents,” states Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director, Tompkins County Health Department.

The winning projects were determined through a competitive, peer-reviewed process, will be added to NACCHO’s Model Practice online database, and the Health Department will be honored at NACCHO’s annual meeting in July 2019. Read the full press release for more information about the award winning initiatives.

Tick-Borne Infections — Take Steps to Prevent Them

photo showing tick size at different life stagesSpring is here and so are ticks! New tick-borne infections have been discovered in recent years and are steadily increasing. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported. Most tick-borne infections, including Lyme disease, can be successfully treated with antibiotics, especially if started early. Preventing tick bites is your best defense against tick-borne infection.

Ticks are different sizes depending on their stage of life. Nymphs are active in spring, and are about the size of a poppy seed, so hard to spot.

Ticks live in shaded, moist areas at ground level. They cling to tall grass, brush, and shrubs, at the edge of woods, along trails, in leaf piles and around old stone walls, waiting for a passerby to come along so they can climb aboard.

Often people are not aware of a tick bite until symptoms appear. These may include severe fatigue, flu-like symptoms, headache, fever, joint swelling, facial paralysis or rash. Some people may experience a sudden red lesion, “bull’s-eye rash,” on their body. If you experience these symptoms, contact your health provider as soon as possible.

To learn more about Tick-borne infection, call the Tompkins County Health Department at 274-6604 or visit the Department’s website: Read the full press release, including precautions, here.

Funding Available for The Replacement of Sewage Systems On or Near Cayuga Lake

The Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 established the “State Septic System Replacement Fund,” a multi-year program allocating money to communities along impaired waterbodies for the replacement or repair of poorly functioning sewage systems.

Eligible property owners on or near Cayuga Lake may be reimbursed up to 50% of costs for sewage system projects up to $10,000. Eligibility criteria have been broadened since the initial roll-out last year to include seasonal and second homes. Read the full press release here, or visit TCHD’s Replacement Fund webpage here.

Trumansburg Water Clinches Top Honors at Tompkins County Taste Test

Nearly 90 people offered their opinions on the taste of water supplied by seven municipal water treatment plants within Tompkins County, and the Village of Trumansburg Water System received the highest number of favored votes. The Tompkins County Health Department, in conjunction with the City of Ithaca Water Treatment Plant, held the Tompkins County drinking water taste test at the Ithaca Streets Alive! event on Sunday, April 28, 2019.

The Village of Trumansburg water treatment plant will now represent our county in an upcoming regional competition held by the New York State Department of Health.

The Bolton Point water treatment plant came in second, while the City of Ithaca water treatment plant was a very close third. The Cornell, Dryden, Groton, and Newfield water treatment plants comprised the remainder of the field.

This friendly competition is put on to recognize all of the water treatment plants for the work they do to provide safe potable drinking water to the residents of Tompkins County.

Measles info for NYS

NYSDOH image illustrating how disease spreads betweeb buildingsSome areas of New York State are currently experiencing a measles outbreak, including the lower Hudson Valley and parts of New York City.
Measles spreads easily and can be dangerous to anyone who is not vaccinated. If you have questions about measles or the measles vaccine, call the New York State Measles Hotline at 888-364-4837. Click here for our Measles Factsheet. (1/30/19)

  Measles information for travelers: Some parts of Europe, Asia, the Asia-Pacific Region, and Africa are experiencing outbreaks of the measles. Click here for more info.  

Measles Infographic

Click here to see and download the full infographic.

WIC Opens New Clinic in Groton

WIC Strong logo image A monthly WIC clinic is coming to Groton. Beginning February 12, Tompkins County WIC will hold a clinic on the second Tuesday of every month, at the TC Action Child Care Center, 110 Sykes St. (the same building as the Groton Head Start). The clinic will be open from 9:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Call 607-274-6630 for an appointment.

Opioid Resource

Opioid Resource graphic logoA NEW Opioid Resource page has been posted to the TCHD website. The intent is for this page to be a portal for information and services related to the opioid crisis within Tompkins County. The page is evolving, and comments related to its content are welcomed.

To visit the page, click here.

Rabies Alert – Catch the Bat!

In 2018, three bats were confirmed rabid in Tompkins County. Rabies is largely transmitted through bites from rabid animals. Bats present an additional concern, because in certain situations a bite may not be readily apparent. August is the time when juvenile bats begin to leave the nest and become independent, often losing their way to or from the nest when hunting for food. Avoid the risk of rabies and rabies treatment by capturing and submitting for laboratory testing any bat found in their home that may have come in contact with humans or pets. Read full press release here.

HIV: PrEP to Help End the Epidemic

Did you know that there is a pill/medication that can be taken daily to lower one’s risk of HIV infection? The medication is called PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis. Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%. Learn more right now. Click here for the full press release.

Health Department Reminds Public to Avoid Interaction with Wildlife

Graphic -- Help Fight RabiesA bat, a woodchuck, and two foxes captured in Tompkins County were determined to be rabid by the New York State Rabies Laboratory during the month of May. Rabies is normally transmitted by the bite of a wild or domestic rabid mammal. Exposures can also occur if saliva from a rabid animal enters the body through a wound that bled within 24 hours prior to the exposure, through an older wound showing signs of an infection, or through contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. Read the full press release for additional information, links, and precautions.


Well Water Assistance Available to Tompkins Residents

Tompkins County residents in need of a new well or rehabilitation of an existing well are encouraged to apply for low-interest loans through the Water Well Trust, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina that is dedicated to ensuring that people have access to safe drinking water.

Applications from Tompkins County are being accepted until September 30, 2018. Priority is given to owner-occupied households where health risks are imminent, to those with minorities, elderly, children, or to disabled persons, including disabled veterans. More information and the application can be found at (Full press release.)

Free Lead Testing Pilot Program:
$1.5 Million State Program to Test Residential Drinking Water

The NYSDOH is launching a pilot program to test for lead in drinking water. The free program is available to residents that are served by either a private well or public water system, allowing everyone to have access to lead testing. The program will continue as long as funds are available.

Residents who are interested having their tap water tested are encouraged to sign up on the NYSDOH website, or by calling the Bureau of Water Supply Protection at 518-402-7650. For more information about this program, read the full press release here. For more information about lead poisoning prevention, click here.


Three words that everyone who is sexually active should know, to protect your health and prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)!

    1. Talk to your partner before you have sex.
    2. Get Tested!
    3. If you test positive for an STI, Get Treated

Want to learn more about STIs and the Talk-Test-Treat campaign? Click right here, right now!

Daily Pill Can Prevent HIV

Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medicine taken daily that can be used to prevent getting HIV. PrEP is for people without HIV who are at very high risk for getting it from sex or injection drug use. Click here for more information.

Vaccines Save Lives

Flu vaccinations: Everyone, Every Year!

The Health Department recommends a flu shot for everyone, every year. Visit our Seasonal Flu page for more info.

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NOTICEThe Tompkins County Health Department makes every effort to post accurate and reliable information. However, it does not guarantee or warrant that the information on this website is complete, accurate, or up-to-date. Tompkins County shall not be liable under any circumstances for any claims or damages arising directly or indirectly from information presented therein. Please contact the program area by phone or the receptionist at 607-274-6600 for more information.


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