The Tompkins County Health Department announced three new positive cases of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 in Tompkins County.
In a Feb. 3 statement, the department announced that one positive case was identified following travel and the other two were close household contacts of the first individual. All close contacts have been identified and all three individuals are in isolation.
The cases were identified through Cornell University’s COVID-19 testing lab as a part of its services for the Cayuga Health System and Tompkins County, the department stated. The first individual was tested for the strain after indicating they had relevant international travel, and the close contacts were subsequently tested, the statement said.
The New York State Department of Health and the New York State Wadsworth Public Health Laboratory have been notified of the positive cases, the statement said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.K. variant spreads more quickly and easily than other strains of the virus. The U.K. variant was first found in New York state Jan. 4.
The first positive case of the U.K. variant was identified in Tompkins County on Jan. 15, and there are now four cases of the U.K. variant in the county.
“We were able to identify the positive case and all close contacts immediately,” Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County public health director, said in the statement. “This is a more contagious variant, but we are confident that we were able to stop the spread in this case. We all still have a part in stopping the spread, and must continue to diligently wear masks, avoid crowds, and keep distance from one another.”
There are currently 203 active COVID-19 cases in Tompkins County, with a total of 3,034 positives since March 2020.
There are 13 active cases at Ithaca College, with 201 total cases since Aug. 14, 2020. Testing for the spring semester at the college is done through a saliva self-collection process. Samples can be dropped off by 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday at the Athletics and Events Center, the Campus Center and Terrace 13. Symptomatic members of the campus community are not allowed on campus and should seek testing at The Shops at Ithaca Mall sampling site or downtown sampling site.