ITHACA, NY -- The Tompkins County Health Department announced six more deaths of Oak Hill Manor Nursing Home residents from COVID-19, bringing the total to 11 since the end of November.
These newly announced deaths were reported to the Health Department by Oak Hill on Dec. 21. Once a positive COVID-19 case is identified in a skilled nursing or long-term care facility, the New York State Department of Health manages contact investigations and testing. The deaths occurred between the dates of December 12 and December 21.
The facility has been dealing with an outbreak for the past month or so that began with 39 residents and 13 staff members testing positive for the disease at the end of November.
Oak Hill Manor administrators continue to partner with the state Department of Health to complete contact investigations and to isolate all positive cases to stop the spread. Tompkins County Health Department remains in close communication with area nursing homes through regular calls, with the state taking over all monitoring if positive cases occur in these long-term care and skilled nursing facilities.
Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “Every death from COVID-19 in our community is heartbreaking, and our thoughts are with the families of those we lost and with those battling the disease. We continue to see those at highest risk having the most adverse health outcomes from COVID-19. We’re looking forward to having our seniors vaccinated in the coming months, but while we await the vaccines, we can’t stop doing what we know works — wearing masks, keeping distance from one another, and being patient before we visit with loved ones.”
“It’s important to remember that our health department handles each new positive case and manages contact investigations in every case except those in nursing homes. Our contact tracing continues to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Tompkins County.”
“As another round of holidays approach, we all need to be vigilant to stop the spread,” stated Kruppa. “We continue to strongly discourage all non-essential gatherings and travel, and encourage mask-wearing, staying 6 feet apart, and monitoring yourself closely for symptoms. We know that not gathering with family and friends over the holidays is difficult, but we all need to be patient and look forward to celebrating when there’s widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. This year, we can all give the gift of keeping our loved ones healthy and safe.”