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Updated Health Advisory on Coronavirus

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Updated Health Advisory on Coronavirus

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Health Department has evaluated an individual who meets the person under investigation (PUI) criteria for the 2019 novel coronavirus. The individual is currently being isolated and monitored, samples were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing, and a contact investigation has begun. Risk of exposure to the 2019 novel coronavirus for Tompkins County residents and visitors remains low.

The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) continues to work with local medical providers including Cornell Health, Ithaca College Health Center and Cayuga Medical Center, to protect the health and well-being of our community. Guidance from the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the CDC is informing our process for prevention and response.

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause symptoms including:

• Cough 

• Fever

• Trouble breathing

• Pneumonia

The coronavirus is spread from someone who is sick through the air by coughing or sneezing, close personal contact, or touching surfaces where the virus is present. If you returned from travel to China in the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough or trouble breathing, you should:

• Call your medical provider and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

• Stay home and avoid contact with others until you are well.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

On Sunday, February 2, CDC and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection implemented additional health screenings for travelers who are entering the U.S. from China. TCHD will be notified of the return of any travelers from China to Tompkins County. Any travelers from China will be quarantined and monitored by TCHD nurses for 14 days post departure from China. Quarantine means that even those who do not have symptoms are required to stay home away from others during the defined period to monitor their health status.

There is no additional action needed by the greater community, but to follow the same prevention steps as recommended for the seasonal flu, as flu still poses a greater risk to Tompkins County residents. Follow these steps to protect yourself:

• Get the flu vaccination if you have not done so already

• Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick

• Stay home if you are sick

• Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces

Governor Cuomo announced a new hotline available for New Yorkers to call for information about the novel coronavirus: 1-888-364-3065.

Stay informed. Get updated information on coronavirus at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:


World Health Organization:

Visit the CDC’s Traveler’s Health webpage for the latest travel health notices at:

For more information call 607-274-6604 or go to Find us on Facebook @TompkinsPublicHealth and Twitter@TompkinsHealth.