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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 23, 2020   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Health department confirms first case of COVID-19 in Tompkins County

The New York State Department of Health confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 in Tompkins County, according to a statement from the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) on March 14

The individual has been in isolation since their samples were sent for testing. TCHD nurses are conducting an investigation to determine if there were any additional exposures, the statement said. 

Frank Kruppa, director of public health at TCHD, said in the statement that Tompkins County residents should continue following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols, such as social distancing.

“While this is the first case of COVID-19 in Tompkins County, we are prepared to respond to limit future exposures and community spread of the virus,” Kruppa said in the statement. “We are looking to our community to take shared responsibility by practicing social distancing and helping each other during the weeks to come.”

All schools in the Ithaca area have been canceled until April and will be moving to online learning. 

The sample was tested positive at the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center in Albany, New York, and has been sent to the CDC for confirmation, the statement said. 

There has been only one confirmed death in New York state because of COVID-19. An 82-year-old woman died March 13 in a New York City hospital because of COVID-19. The woman had pre-existing respiratory issues. 

The population most at risk to catch the virus are older adults and people with serious, chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, according to the CDC. 

TCHD is providing updates about COVID-19 in Tompkins County on its website.

Falyn Stempler can be reached at fstempler@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @falstempler