September 6 update from Health Department on COVID-19 cases

At the end of the long weekend, the Tompkins County Health Department says there have now been 23,835 total positive cases in Tompkins County, 66 more than on Friday, and a total of 1,936,179 tests conducted. The Health Department is also now reporting positive self-test results that have been submitted through their online portal. They say there are 15 new positive self-test results for a total of 3,642 submitted.

Related: TCHD: If you test positive on an at-home test

As of Tuesday at 8:30am, the Health Department says 336 tests were conducted in the previous day. The Tompkins County Health Department publishes NYS vaccine tracking info, showing 88,104 Tompkins County residents have a first dose and 79,809 have completed vaccination (which could be one or two doses, depending on vaccine).

Related: Many are eligible for second booster or additional doses, says Health Department

The Health Department says four people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, one fewer than in Friday’s update. As of a shift in data last winter, “TCHD is reporting only active cases who are hospitalized,” rather than including patients recovered from COVID who remain hospitalized for other reasons.

“Of the recent uptick in hospitalizations, a vast majority have been of vaccinated individuals,” Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa tells us, but “of the individuals who are vaccinated and have been hospitalized for COVID-19 related reasons, the trend holds that they are largely older adults, age 65+. This data points to the importance of boosters and 2nd boosters for those age 65+.”

Related: CDC and FDA have authorized vaccines for 6 months and up, says Health Department

There have been 66 deaths from COVID-19 recorded among Tompkins County residents, including the death of an area resident reported in late August.

On September 4, Cornell University reported 252 active student cases and 60 active faculty and staff cases. Cornell has switched to weekly updates, and the timing of their updates doesn’t allow a direct comparison to the county’s statistics.

As of September 5, Ithaca College reported 40 active student cases, with 66 recovered, and seven active employee cases and 17 recovered employees. (Ithaca College reset its recovered count to zero on August 1 to reflect the new academic year.)

The Health Department says the public needs to prevent the spread of COVID-19 not just to protect themselves, but others in our community who are most vulnerable to getting very sick – older adults, those who are immune-compromised, and those with underlying chronic health conditions.

TCHD’s Frank Kruppa says, “There is a very high vaccination rate for our community, especially with the successes that have been reported by our local colleges. In addition to the arrival and surveillance testing, many of our new cases are arising from sustained close contact with a positive individual, meaning more than 10 minutes within six feet of a positive case. These close contacts are occurring more frequently in large indoor gatherings that mix different groups of people.”

“Over the past few weeks, our efforts have focused on vaccinating our young people and providing booster doses to those who are eligible,” Kruppa says. “We are distributing self-tests and masks throughout the county as we receive shipments and thank our community partners for assisting in this effort.”

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Related: Coronavirus coverage in 14850 Today