Department of Health releases more details on spread of Omicron, increase in hospitalizations and 47th death


TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY — The Tompkins County Department of Health has detailed current cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins County, which have reached unprecedented numbers locally. There are currently 2,589 active cases in the county, a continuation of the recent disturbing increase in positive tests among the community inside and outside the Cornell community.

There are currently 19 COVID-19-related hospitalizations at Cayuga Medical Center. While this does not threaten the capacity of the hospital yet, it is the highest figure since January 25, 2021. Four of those 19 people are in intensive care and one is on a ventilator. It is not known if any of the people hospitalized have been confirmed to have the Omicron variant – Tompkins County communications director Dominick Recckio said the information is not yet available.

The health ministry said that of the 19, eleven of them are not vaccinated compared to eight who are fully vaccinated. The ages range from one person in their early 30s to “many in their 80s and 90s”. Currently, the age of current patients “aligns with previously published data,” which likely indicates that vaccinated people who are hospitalized are older as well. Eleven of the 19 people at the hospital are residents of Tompkins County (although this indicates that the other eight may be from out of town, such as a college student, the age range largely outweighs that chance).

This point is reinforced by data from the health department on the local death toll. With one person who died from COVID-19 reported on Tuesday morning, that brings the total number of COVID deaths in the county to 47. As of February 1, according to the health department, “11 deaths have been unvaccinated, while only 10 have been fully vaccinated. However, the health ministry further stated that “all fully vaccinated deaths have occurred in adults over 60 years of age.”

Data presented by the health department continues to show that COVID-19-related hospitalizations are much more likely to come from the unvaccinated population of Tompkins County than from the vaccinated population, especially since around 80% of the county population received at least their first dose.

As the students, who have caused numerous cases in the county since mid-December when an Omicron outbreak unfolded at Cornell University, begin to return home (at their own risk), the health department reiterated that the main spread they are seeing is from the household. / gathering places and “larger gatherings or parties where precautions are not observed”, as well as recent trips.

The following prevention strategies and contact tracing details are taken directly from TCHD:

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

  • A mask / vaccine requirement is in effect for public companies in New York State. Everyone in Tompkins County is strongly urged to wear a mask indoors while in close proximity to others, regardless of vaccination status. TCHD urges residents to wear a mask even 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 are in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
    • If you are sick or have symptoms, even mild ones, stay home and get tested. Mild symptoms of COVID-19 may include a cough, runny nose, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.
    • Home COVID-19 tests are increasingly available. TCHD urges all people who test positive at home to start self-isolating immediately. Due to demand for testing, TCHD no longer urges those who test positive on a home test to receive a follow-up PCR test, but the recommendation continues to be to isolate the test result for 10 days. positive or onset of symptoms, whichever occurs first. TCHD will communicate further advice on home testing as it becomes available.
  • Anyone 5 years of age and older can protect themselves by getting a full vaccine. COVID-19 vaccination is free.
  • For those who qualify, get a booster shot when you can. Booster Doses Help Maximize Protection Against COVID-19
  • Continue to wash your hands well and often, wear a mask, and maintain a physical distance from others in public.

Contacts search

TCHD continues to experience delays in case investigations, appeals for some positive cases and contact tracing. TCHD ensures that isolation counseling is made available to all positive cases and continues to prioritize appeals of positive cases to people over 65 and children under 18.

When tracing contacts, TCHD prioritizes household and congregational contacts due to limited capacity and trends in places of recent spread. TCHD will continue to provide updates on the case investigation and contact tracing calls.

If you receive a positive test result through a patient portal, follow isolation instructions on the TCHD website and through robocalls until you are contacted by TCHD.

· If you receive a positive test result in a home test, please isolate yourself from others.

· The isolation period for a positive case continues to be 10 days as per NYS guidelines, regardless of immunization status.

If you are in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, especially if you are in the same household, avoid further contact with them and carefully watch for symptoms. If you are not vaccinated, please quarantine yourself 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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