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Health Alert: Air Quality Health Advisory for Tompkins and Surrounding Counties Moves to an AQI Health Alert; Caution Advised

(Ithaca, N.Y., June 06, 2023) – Tompkins County Whole Health (TCWH) is alerting the community that the Advisory issued earlier today, Tuesday, June 6, 2023, has now moved to a Health Alert as defined by the Air Quality Index (AQI) scale, effective 04:30 PM.

Additionally, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has amended their Air Quality Advisory to an Alert, which will now remain in effect through Wednesday, June 7, 2023 (ending at midnight, 12:00AM Thursday, June 8, 2023).

The air quality level for outdoor air in Tompkins County has now progressed to scale above 201 on the Air Quality Index (AQI) scale. The higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern. For comparison, the Air Quality Index in Tompkins County this time of year typically falls within the “Good” range of 0-50. For historical reference, please visit:

When pollution levels are elevated to the “Very Unhealthy” level, the New York State Department of Health recommends that everyone limit outdoor physical activity, to reduce their risk of adverse health effects.

People who may be especially sensitive to the effects of elevated levels of pollutants include the very young, older adults, and those with pre-existing respiratory problems such as asthma or heart disease. Those with related healthcare concerns may consider contacting their healthcare provider.

Those who are especially sensitive to the effects of elevated levels of pollution should:

  • Avoid all physical activity outdoors.
  • Reschedule outdoor activities to a time when air quality is better or move activities indoors.

Everyone else should consider the following steps to reduce your exposure:

  • Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don’t breathe as hard.
  • Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors.
  • Be active outdoors when air quality is better.

High quality masks, such as N95 and KN95 masks, can be worn outdoors to reduce the inhalation of fine particles from the air. Cloth masks and surgical masks are not effective at reducing inhalation of pollutants.

Whole Health Commissioner Frank Kruppa stated, “Particle pollution can cause serious health problems, including asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and early death. It is advised to avoid outdoor physical activities if you have lung conditions, such as asthma, heart conditions, or other related health concerns. We advise our community to stay up to date on the on-going air quality situation, as we move from a Health Advisory into a Health Alert.”

Sign up for Tompkins County SIREN (Safety & Incident Real-Time Emergency Notifications) to receive key community alerts to your phone, text or email. Sign up online at: or dial 211 (1-877-211-8667) for assistance over the phone.

For additional information, please visit the NYS DEC website at: or call the Air Quality Hotline at: 800-535-1345.

Tompkins County Whole Health (formerly the Tompkins County Health Department): envisioning a future where every person in Tompkins County can achieve wellness. Find us online at, and follow us on Facebook at  and on Twitter at @TCWholeHealthSign up to receive Whole Health updates or other county announcements via email or text.