The Tompkins County Health Department is announcing three positive cases of the “UK variant” of COVID-19 identified in Tompkins County. One positive case was identified following travel and the other two cases were close household contacts of the first positive case. The contact investigation has been completed and all close contacts have been identified. The individual entered quarantine immediately upon returning from travel and close contacts were also quarantined. Following positive test results, all three individuals were placed in isolation.
The cases were sequenced through Cornell University’s COVID-19 testing lab as part of that lab’s testing services for Cayuga Health System and the region. Test results for the first case identified were sequenced for the strain due to an individual indicating that they had relevant international travel. Close contacts were subsequently tested, and their results were sequenced. Test results are sequenced in cases of relevant travel or close contact with another individual with the variant. The regional New York State Department of Health office and New York State Wadsworth Public Health Laboratory have been notified of the results.
The “UK variant” is a more contagious variant of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published more information on the COVID-19 variants here. The first reported case of this strain was identified by New York State on January 4, 2021. There is currently no evidence that this strain is more dangerous to an individual’s health, or to the local public.
Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “We were able to identify the positive case and all close contacts immediately. This is a more contagious variant, but we are confident that we were able to stop the spread in this case. We all still have a part in stopping the spread, and must continue to diligently wear masks, avoid crowds, and keep distance from one another.”
For local updates and information, check the TCHD website.
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.