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> COVID19 Cayuga Health Sampling Site


2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Cayuga Health Sampling Sites for Tompkins County Residents

Sampling Site Information 

  • Appointment Required: Register at or call 607-319-5708.
  • Cost: No cost for Tompkins County residents. Non-residents may be charged a $99 fee. 
Northeast: Shops at Ithaca Mall
Closed July 5 for the Independence Day holiday. Normal Mon-Fri hours resume July 6. Saturday hours end July 3.
  • Location: 40 Catherwood Rd., Ithaca. Trailers are set up in the back parking lot (cinema side). (Open Google map)
  • Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 am–4:00 pm; Sat., 8:00 am–1:00 pm (Saturday hours end July 3)
  • Access: This is a drive-through site. Individuals remain in their vehicle throughout check-in and sampling.
  • Sampling method: Saliva
  • Important information: A saliva sample is taken at this location. Individuals must not eat, drink, or use any tobacco product for a full 30 minutes before the sample is taken. Appointments are required.
  • What to expect 
Downtown: Tioga St. Testing Clinic
(This site is closing after July 2, 2021)
  • Location: 412 North Tioga St., Ithaca
  • Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00 am–4:00 pm through July 2, 2021
  • Access: This is a walk-through site. Only on-street parking is available.
  • Sampling method: Saliva
  • Important information: A saliva sample is taken at this location. Invividuals must not eat, drink, or use any tobacco product for a full 30 minutes before the sample is taken. Appointments are required.
  • What to expect 

* Extended Hours: The Sampling Sites occasionally add extended hours. Please call 607-319-5708 for updated information.

Information reviewed 6/23/2021

Testing Icon -- Testing helps stop the spreadAs part of our community’s effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Tompkins County, the Cayuga Health Sampling Site was opened on March 24, 2020, at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwood Rd.  As of September 1, 2020, testing is available and covered for all Tompkins County residents. Funds to cover expanded testing are provided by the Tompkins County Legislature.

  • Register for an appointment online at, or call 607-319-5708
  • Scroll down for information on what to expect at the drive-through Sampling Site.
  • Need a ride to the drive-through site? Click here for info.

Who can get tested?

The Cayuga Health sampling sites provide testing at no cost to the individual who meets one of the following criteria:

  • Individual has developed symptoms related to COVID-19
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Congestion or runny nose or sore throat
    • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Individual has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • The individual’s employer, school, or other organization has a testing program through Cayuga Health 
  • Individual is an essential worker
  • Individual is a Tompkins County resident 
  • Individual has an upcoming procedure at Cayuga Medical Center

To learn more about testing for COVID-19, please call your health care provider directly or the Cayuga Health COVID-19 Sampling Line at 607-319-5708.

Source: Cayuga Health Testing Criteria

Additional information about testing criteria is on the NYS Department of Health website, or on the CDC website.

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Do I need an appointment?

Yes, effective August 5, 2020, an appointment is required to get tested at the Cayuga Health Sampling Sites. Register online here, or call 607-319-5708.

What should I expect?
  • At the drive-through sampling site (Shops at Ithaca Mall):
    • Invividuals must not eat, drink, or use any tobacco product for a full 30 minutes before the sample is taken
    • Remain in your car, and wait to be directed by Sampling Center staff. You may tune your radio to 96.3 FM for information and instructions.
    • At the first stop, a staff member will use a tablet to pull up your registration, and review the information you provided when you registered. Please have your I.D. ready to show. You will be given a saliva sampling kit.
    • You will then be directed to the a waiting area where you will be instructed on how to fill your sample vial with saliva.
    • When you have collected the required amount of saliva (3 ml) you will be instructed on how to label the vial and directed to the sample pick-up stations.
    • You will be given instructions about mandatory home isolation, and you must go straight home.
  • At the walk-in sampling site (412 N. Tioga St.)
    • Invividuals must not eat, drink, or use any tobacco product for a full 30 minutes before the sample is taken.Photo of the downtown sampling site entryway
    • Individuals will pick up a saliva sampling kit.
    • There are a few private spaces on site for individuals to collect their sample.
    • Individuals may also take the kit with them, collect the sample, and return the sample vial back to the downtown location.
    • The saliva test needs a 3 ml sample and can take a few minutes to collect.
What happens while I wait for results?
  • If you got tested because you are experiencing any symptoms noted above (you are symptomatic)
    • You must return home without any stops. You must stay separated from all others in your household, including children. Read more about mandatory isolation here.
    • A medical practitioner from Cayuga Health will call you to check-in and make sure you understand and are maintaining separation from others. They will also ask if you have any new symptoms, or are in need of medical treatment, and if have what you'll need during your isolation period.
    • You must remain in isolation until you receive your test results. Results have typically been available within 48 hours. Ask the medical staff at the sampling site.
    • Only in the case of an emergency, call 911
  • If you got tested on recommendation by a contact tracer  (close contact with a known case of COVID-19), or a Health Alert (present during a potential public exposure)
    • You should self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of the exposure. Do not leave your home or have visitors. Do not share personal items. Wash hands often and maintain 6 feet of distance from other household members. Sleep in a separate room or area.
    • Monitor your health for possible COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop any symptoms, get tested again.
  • If you got tested at the request of your employer, as an essential worker, or by personal choice, and you are asymptomatic
    • You do not need to go into quarantine or isolation
    • Continue to practice all prevention measures, including wearing a face covering when in a public place, maintain 6 feet distance from others, avoid crowds and tight areas.
How will I get my result?
  • Your result will be available on the Cayuga Health Patient Portal within the timeframe you are given at the testing site. 
  • If the test result is positive (virus detected) you will be called by a public health nurse from the Tompkins County Health Department. They will provide instructions and will conduct a thorough contact investigation.
  • You may be released from isolation following a negative test result and once you do not have symptoms for at least 24 hours.
What if I don't have transportation?
  • After you have registered, call 2-1-1 for assistance. 2-1-1 is available 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. to help with transportation options  to the Sampling Site.
  • 2-1-1 is arranging free transportation for individuals with symptoms, or known exposure to positive cases. Other transportation options will have varying fees. 

How do I register?


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