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

The Tompkins County Health Department is announcing two positive cases of the B.1.1.7 Variant (“UK variant”) of COVID-19 identified in Tompkins County. Both positive cases were identified following travel. The cases are in isolation and contact investigations have been completed. All close contacts have been identified and are in quarantine. 

The test results of the cases were sequenced through Cornell University’s COVID-19 testing lab as part of that lab’s testing services for Cayuga Health System and the region. Test results are sequenced in cases of relevant travel or close contact with another individual with the variant. The regional New York State Department of Health office and New York State Wadsworth Public Health Laboratory have been notified of the results. 

The B.1.1.7 variant is a more contagious variant of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published  information on the COVID-19 variants here. There is currently no evidence that this strain is more dangerous to an individual’s health, or to the local public. 

Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “We are confident that we successfully identified and isolated the cases in this situation. This is a more contagious mutation of the virus and we need to be vigilant. We are seeing more presence of this variant in the U.S. and that may continue. 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.” 

For local updates and information, check the TCHD website

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