Protect yourself and others this holiday weekend, urges health department, with dozens of new cases daily

Precautions “can help protect yourself and others from COVID-19 ahead of the holiday weekend,” said the Tompkins County Health Department, which has announced dozens of new COVID-19 positive cases daily. Ithaca and Tompkins County area over the past few weeks. People gathering with friends and family for Passover and Easter and other gatherings can take a few simple precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

  • Wearing a high quality mask can protect you and others
  • Get tested if you have symptoms, test yourself before getting together with others

  • Stay up to date on vaccinations to prevent serious illnesses

“COVID-19 continues to spread in Tompkins County and although TCHD is currently reporting a low incidence of serious illness and hospitalizations, precautions can help stop the spread and reduce the risk of increased cases and serious illnesses and hospitalizations,” they said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“Our local hospitalization rates remain low,” says Director of Public Health Frank Kruppa. “When hospitalizations are low, there is more access to care and services in the hospital, and the risk of having to limit other types of services is reduced.”

The Department of Health provided these details:

Wearing a high quality mask can protect you and others

  • High quality masks (KN95 or N95) continue to be one of the best ways to protect yourself and others.
  • High quality KN95 masks are freely available to the community. Please refer to TCHD website or call 2-1-1 to find out where these masks are available.
  • For more information on how to most effectively wear a KN95 mask, TCHD has posted a video with instructions.
  • Anyone can choose to wear a mask in any situation based on personal preference.
  • You must wear a mask when you are around other people:
    • who are sick
    • Who cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19
    • Who are at high risk of serious illness
    • If you are immunocompromised or at high risk of serious illness from the virus
    • On public transportation or in a health care or congregational facility as defined by New York State

Get tested if you have symptoms, test yourself before getting together with others

  • If you feel sick or symptomatic for COVID-19, request a test through Cayuga Health System or your healthcare provider. Testing is free and available to Tompkins County residents at the Cayuga Health System testing site in stores at Ithaca Mall (40 Catherwood Rd.). Appointments are required. To go in line or call: 607-319-5708.
  • Self-tests are recommended for people without symptoms who are looking for quick results to identify infection or increase confidence that you are not positive for COVID-19.
    • A self-test can be used as a preventative measure before congregating indoors with others who are not in your household. This is especially important before meeting with unvaccinated people, the elderly, immunocompromised people, or people at increased risk of serious illness.
    • Free self-test kits can be ordered for delivery to your home via USPS or can be found locally in various places.
    • If the result of your self-test is positive, complete the self-test report form for residents of Tompkins County. The online form will ask you for basic contact information and to upload a photo of your test kit result.

Stay up to date on vaccinations to prevent serious illnesses

  • TCHD encourages eligible residents to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccination.
  • The vaccines are safe, effective and continue to show increased protection against serious illnesses from COVID-19.
  • Vaccine doses are currently available at local pharmacies and primary care offices. Please contact your pharmacy or doctor to discuss availability or visit TCHD website for more information.

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