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COVID-19 Increase in Cases 12.12.21

The Tompkins County Health Department is reporting 344 new positive COVID-19 cases today (Sunday, December 12), the highest local single day increase in cases since the start of the pandemic. TCHD is also reporting a total of 9 local hospitalizations, which has remained low even while cases have increased. TCHD is sharing details on the increase in cases and guidance to help stop the spread and keep one another healthy.


TCHD is reporting that recent cases have been resulting from:

  • Significant community spread – over 50% of cases are not able to trace where they may have been infected, showing significant spread in the community and in settings where masking and distancing are not observed.
  • As announced yesterday by Cornell, a majority of these new cases are among higher education students. Data dashboards for Cornell University and Ithaca College are available on their websites.
  • Spread in households amongst families and at gatherings – household spread is happening when someone infects those who live in their home, or others who gather inside the home without taking precautions.
  • Spread from large gatherings or parties where precautions are not observed.
  • Spread from holiday gatherings and travel.

TCHD is experiencing delays in case investigation calls for some positive cases. TCHD is continuing to prioritize positive case calls to those who are over 65 years of age and children in K-12 settings.

  • If you receive a positive test result through a patient portal, follow isolation guidance on the TCHD website and through automated calls until you are contacted by TCHD.
  • If you receive a positive test result through a home test, please isolate from others and get a PCR test at the Mall Sampling Site. Tests are free of charge for Tompkins County residents.
  • The isolation period for a positive case continues to be 10 days based on NYS guidance, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Videos explaining the Contact Tracing process are available on the TCHD website, in English, Spanish, French, Karen, Russian, Ukrainian, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese

Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “This unprecedented rise in cases will require all of us to do our part to stop further spread of COVID-19. These cases are resulting from regular every-day activity, and while we want things to get back to normal, we have to do what we know works to stop the spread. Please wear a mask, avoid gatherings with others, and get vaccinated and boosted as soon as you are able.”

Kruppa continued, “Our hospitalizations remain low and manageable, but we cannot continue to let the virus spread and impact those who are most vulnerable in our community including older adults and immunocompromised individuals.”

TCHD is urging the following prevention strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including the recently identified Omicron variant: 

  • Beginning Monday, December 13, a mask/vaccine mandate goes into effect in New York State. In Tompkins County, everyone is urged to wear a mask indoors while around others regardless of vaccination status. TCHD is encouraging residents to consider wearing a mask even while at home but mixing with different households of people.
  • Monitor yourself closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested if you have symptoms or have close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • If you are sick or have symptoms, even mild symptoms, stay home and get tested. Mild symptoms of COVID-19 may include cough, runny nose, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.
  • Everyone 5 years and older can protect themselves by getting fully vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccination is free of charge. 
  • For those who are eligible, get a booster dose when you are able. Booster doses help maximize protection from COVID-19 
  • Continue to wash hands well and often, wear a mask, and maintain physical distance from others when in public.