COVID stock

The Cornell COVID-19 Testing Lab at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The Tompkins County Health Department is sharing an update on the recent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths and reiterating prevention strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including the Omicron variant.

Significant spread continues to occur in household and congregate living settings when someone infects those who live in or visit their home without taking precautions. Spread also continues to occur from large gatherings or parties (including holiday gatherings) where precautions are not observed, and individuals have recently traveled.

On Tuesday, December 21, TCHD reported 19 COVID-19 hospitalizations at Cayuga Medical Center, an increase of 11 over the past seven days. CMC reports that there continues to be capacity to meet the number of cases and continues to adapt operations and staffing to meet the demand for care.

Age and vaccination status of hospitalized Tompkins County residents since August 1, 2021 is frequently updated on the TCHD website. This data continues to show that those who are unvaccinated are more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19, and that the majority of hospitalizations have been of older adults.

Of the 19 hospitalizations reported by TCHD on December 21, four are in the ICU and one is ventilated. The age of patients ranges from an individual in their early thirties to several individuals in their eighties and nineties. The ages of current patients align with the trends published since August 1. Eleven are unvaccinated and eight are fully vaccinated. Eleven of the 19 patients are Tompkins County residents.

Deaths

TCHD has reported eight new COVID-19 deaths of Tompkins County residents during the month of December 2021, for a total of 47 since the start of the pandemic. TCHD is publishing data on COVID-19 deaths on the website’s data page.

Since February 1, when individuals began to be fully vaccinated, 11 deaths have been of unvaccinated individuals and 10 have been of fully vaccinated individuals. Data published by TCHD also shows that all fully vaccinated deaths have occurred in adults over the age of 60.

Prevention Strategies

TCHD is strongly urging the following prevention strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including Omicron variant:

  • A Mask/Vaccine requirement is in effect for public businesses in New York State. In Tompkins County, everyone is strongly urged to wear a mask indoors while around others regardless of vaccination status. TCHD is urging residents to wear a mask even while at home but mixing with different households of people.
  • Monitor yourself closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested if you have symptoms or have close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, even mild symptoms, stay home and get tested. Mild symptoms of COVID-19 may include cough, runny nose, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.
  • At-home COVID-19 tests are becoming more widely available. TCHD urges all individuals who receive a positive result from an at-home test to begin isolating immediately. Due to demand for testing, TCHD is no longer urging those who receive a positive result on an at-home test receive a follow up PCR test, but the guidance continues to be to isolate for 10 days from the positive test result or the onset of symptoms, whichever occurs first. TCHD will communicate additional at-home test guidance as it becomes available.
  • Everyone 5 years and older can protect themselves by getting fully vaccinated.
  • COVID-19 vaccination is free of charge.
  • For those who are eligible, get a booster dose when you are able. Booster doses help maximize protection from COVID-19
  • Continue to wash hands well and often, wear a mask, and maintain physical distance from others when in public.

Contact Tracing

TCHD continues to experience delays in case investigation calls for some positive cases and contact tracing. TCHD is ensuring isolation guidance is made available to all positive cases and is continuing to prioritize positive case calls to those who are over 65 years of age and children under 18.

During contact tracing, TCHD is prioritizing household and congregate contacts due to limited capacity and the trends of where recent spread is occurring. TCHD will continue to communicate updates on the case investigation and contact tracing calls.

  • If you receive a positive test result through a patient portal, follow isolation guidance on the TCHD website and through automated calls until you are contacted by TCHD.
  • If you receive a positive test result through a home test, please isolate from others.
  • The isolation period for a positive case continues to be 10 days based on NYS guidance, regardless of vaccination status.
  • If you are a close contact of someone positive for COVID-19, especially if you are in the same household, avoid further contact with them and carefully monitor yourself for symptoms. If you are unvaccinated, please quarantine until you receive more information from the NYS Contact Tracing program.

Videos explaining the Contact Tracing process are available on the TCHD website, in English, Spanish, French, Karen, Russian, Ukrainian, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese

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