The Tompkins County COVID-19 Community Level shifted from low to medium Jan. 19 because of an increase in positive cases and hospitalizations.
As of Jan. 23, there are three active COVID-19 hospitalizations and 78 positive cases reported in the last seven days. All active cases and hospitalizations — in addition to other information — are recorded and available for public viewing on the county’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) use the COVID-19 Community Level of low, medium and high to classify the risk level in a specific community so individuals can then use the reported level to make informed decisions about when to employ preventative measures.
The CDC recommends that when a county is at a medium or high Community Level, high-risk individuals should wear a high-quality mask or respirator. Individuals are also suggested to test for COVID-19 before being in contact with high-risk individuals and to wear a high-quality mask when indoors with them.
A press release was sent out Jan. 20 alerting the community to the change in risk status.
“TCWH is urging caution, especially for those most at risk for severe illness, though there is no change in official guidance regarding masking at this time,” the press release stated.
Another press release was made Jan. 19, prior to the Community Level alert, that warned residents about a newly circulating COVID-19 subvariant Omicron XBB.1.5.
According to the dashboard, 29% of Tompkins County residents have received a bivalent booster shot in addition to all primary COVID-19 vaccinations. The rate of residents who have received all primary vaccinations is higher at 83.7% of all county residents.
Self-test kits and KN95 masks continue to be available in several local locations, including the Tompkins County Public Library in the City of Ithaca.