The Tompkins County Health Department announced a fourth death at Oak Hill Manor Nursing Home and a record single-day increase of COVID-19 cases.
Three Oak Hill residents died from COVID-19 in late November as a result of a cluster of at least 52 COVID-19 cases. As of Nov. 28, 39 residents and 13 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. There are now seven total deaths from COVID-19 in Tompkins County, five residents and two nonresidents.
In a Dec. 7 statement, the department announced that there were 61 new positive cases in Tompkins County. There are currently 293 active cases in Tompkins County, with 231 over the past seven days. Over 1,100 individuals are in quarantine, according to the health department.
Previously, the highest single-day increases of positive cases were Dec. 5 and Nov. 20, which had increases of 38 cases each.
The department attributes the increase to small gatherings and travel for Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations, small clusters of employees at businesses, positive cases at colleges and entire households testing positive. The department stated that approximately 100 individuals are unable to identify where they may have contracted the virus.
To stop the spread of COVID-19, the department is recommending not gathering with others and instead holding virtual alternatives with friends and family. The department is also recommending limiting all nonessential travel, limiting all interactions with others outside the home and wearing a mask when outside the home.
“Our thoughts are with the family of the individual who passed today and with all of those who are impacted by COVID-19,” said Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County public health director, in the statement. “We all have a responsibility to keep each other healthy and stop the disease from spreading and hurting others.”
The department also announced potential exposures at the Home Depot and Walmart in Ithaca.
In a Dec. 7 statement, the department said that an individual who worked at Home Depot and an individual who worked at Walmart both tested positive for COVID-19 and went to work while they could have infected others.
The potential exposure times at Home Depot are from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4. The potential exposure times at Walmart are 7 a.m.–4 p.m. Dec. 1, 7 a.m.–4:45 p.m. Dec. 2 and noon–6 p.m. Dec. 3.
Both individuals are in isolation, and close contacts have been notified for quarantine, the statement said.
The department recommends that anyone who was at Home Depot or Walmart during those times gets tested for COVID-19, monitors their health and quarantines for 14 days. Testing is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the sampling site at The Shops at Ithaca Mall. Testing is also available at the 412 N. Tioga St. sampling site from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
There are 13 active cases at Ithaca College, and there have been 112 positive cases since Aug. 14. Students experiencing symptoms should call the Hammond Health Center at 607-274-3177. On-campus testing is available for students, faculty and staff from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a break from noon to 1 p.m., every Tuesday in December, except Dec. 29, at the Athletics and Events Center. Members of the campus community who are symptomatic are not allowed on campus and should get tested at the sampling site at The Shops at Ithaca Mall or the downtown sampling site.