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Tompkins County Health Department. (photo courtesy of Tompkins Health Department)

ITHACA, NY -- The Tompkins County Health Department announced a potential COVID-19 exposure at the Target in Lansing, while active case numbers have hit triple digits.

An individual who tested positive for COVID-19 worked at the Lansing Target Store Customer Service Desk at the Shops at Ithaca Mall during their infectious period. The individual is a resident of another county, and their respective county is managing the contact investigation. Close contacts of the individuals will be contacted by the respective county’s Health Department.

Potential public exposures may have occurred at the Lansing Target Customer Service Desk, 40 Catherwood Road on Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 1:45 p.m.-10:30 p.m.

The Health Department announced 30 new positive COVID-19 cases Thursday, following 19 positive cases announced the previous day and a total of 87 over the past seven days. 

The number of active cases in Tompkins County is now at 101, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. Following this spike in cases, the Tompkins County Health Department is sharing information on recent clusters and reiterating guidance to help stop the spread.

The Health Department is clarifying three recent clusters in Tompkins County. Each cluster is related to small gatherings, which are currently discouraged by the Health Department.

  • A series of gatherings related to one household has resulted in 10 positive cases.
  • College students who attended multiple gatherings with different groups of people at each gathering, gatherings resulted in over 10 positive cases
  • A church group gathering resulted in four positive cases.

Contact investigations related to these clusters are ongoing, and the Health Department is still contacting individuals who may have been present at these gatherings.

The Tompkins County Emergency Operations Center and Health Department officials will be hosting a live streamed COVID-19 Update on Monday, Nov. 16,  at 5 p.m. — the public is encouraged to tune in and share questions in the YouTube chat. The update will include guidance on travel and gatherings related to holidays and the recent spike in active cases.

Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “This significant increase in cases is a direct result of small gatherings. When people gather and do not follow distancing and mask-wearing guidance, the disease spreads rapidly and puts people at serious risk of getting sick and increasing the spread in our community. We are reminding everyone that no gatherings are allowed of more than 10 people, indoors or outdoors.”

On Nov. 11, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released new guidance requiring bars, restaurants, and gyms to close daily at or before 10 p.m. and reducing the number of people allowed to gather, indoors or outdoors, at private residences to 10. Leading into the holiday season, the Tompkins County Health Department is discouraging all gatherings between households and all non-essential travel.

Kruppa added, “This is a concerning uptick, and heading into the holiday season we need people to pay close attention to the guidance and refrain from gathering or traveling, which could create more clusters like the ones we’re sharing today. Each time we’ve seen a spike, our community has been able to act carefully and slow the spread, I’m asking everyone to act with a renewed sense of caution and vigilance, I know this is tough and COVID fatigue is setting in for some people, but it’s too important that we do the right thing and keep one another safe — wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, and plan and act with caution every time you go out and interact with others.”

If you were at the Lansing Target Store Customer Service Desk during the date and time above, the Health Department recommends you do the following:

  • Get tested at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site located at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwood Rd. Register for an appointment online at cayugahealthsystem.org or call the Cayuga Health Call Center at 607-319-5708. Regular hours for the Sampling Site and Call Center are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    • Cayuga Health System has expanded hours on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 8 a.m. – noon.
  • Monitor your health for any symptoms of cough, fever, congestion, and shortness of breath for 14 days from the last time specified above that you were at the Target Customer Service Desk. For a full list of symptoms, go to the TCHD website.
  • If you seek testing and the result is negative, continue to monitor your health for the full 14 days from the last time you were at any of these businesses. If you become symptomatic, seek testing again.
  • If potentially exposed, Cornell University students should contact Cornell Health at 607-255-5155; do not go to an arrival or surveillance testing site.

(1) comment

Michael Bryant

The Ct-qPCR test is non specific and hence producing false positives for samples with pathogens broadly and continuously present among population like Influenza A Virus (H1N1), Influenza B Virus (Yamagata), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (type B), Respiratory Adenovirus (type 3, type 7), Parainfluenza Virus (type 2), Mycoplasma Pneumoniae, Chlamydia Pneumoniae, etc.,. That Critical issue was addressed by the FDA in Emergency approval letters to manufacturers of PCR test kits and medical community by a clause stating in that ” Positive results do not rule out bacterial infection or co-infection with other viruses.”

And therefore, commercial stand alone or self administered positive Ct-qPCR test without specific doctor or hospital diagnosis cannot be a basis for establishment of COVID clinical case to be counted as a "case" or even a reliable way of determination of specific infection status according to the FDA that states: “clinical correlation with patient history and other diagnostic information is necessary to determine patient infection status.” .

There can be no COVID clinical case diagnosis without reliable determination of an individual's infection status which PCR tests fails to provide.

The above misclassification of PCR tests positives as COVID cases is compounded by suggestive even alarmist publishing of totally incorrect grossly over-counted, unreliable numbers of new COVID cases as supposed indication of a manufactured pandemic.

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