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The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) has evaluated an individual who meets the person under investigation (PUI) criteria for the 2019 novel coronavirus. The individual is currently being isolated and monitored, samples were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing, and a contact investigation has begun. Risk of exposure to the 2019 novel coronavirus for Tompkins County residents and visitors remains low.

TCHD continues to work with local medical providers including Cornell Health, Ithaca College Health Center and Cayuga Medical Center, to protect the health and well-being of our community. Guidance from the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the CDC is informing our process for prevention and response.

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause symptoms including:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pneumonia

The coronavirus is spread from someone who is sick through the air by coughing or sneezing, close personal contact, or touching surfaces where the virus is present.

If you returned from travel to China in the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough or trouble breathing, you should:

Call your medical provider and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Stay home and avoid contact with others until you are well. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

On Sunday, February 2, CDC and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection implemented additional health screenings for travelers who are entering the U.S. from China. TCHD will be notified of the return of any travelers from China to Tompkins County. Any travelers from China will be quarantined and monitored by TCHD nurses for 14 days post departure from China. Quarantine means that even those who do not have symptoms are required to stay home away from others during the defined period to monitor their health status.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an update Tuesday on the status of testing for the novel coronavirus in New York State. As of today, samples from 17 New Yorkers have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. Of those, 11 have come back negative. Three samples from New York City and three samples from New York State outside of New York City are pending, for six total pending samples. There are still no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York State.

As Governor Cuomo announced Sunday, a hotline has been set up for New Yorkers to call at 1-888-364-3065 where experts from the Department of Health can answer questions regarding the Novel Coronavirus. The Department of Health has also created a dedicated website as a resource for New Yorkers.

"Even though there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York State, we continue to take every precaution necessary to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "While the risk to New Yorkers is still low, we urge everyone to remain vigilant, stay informed, follow the recommended steps to protect themselves and their families, and call our coronavirus hotline if you still have questions or concerns."

There is no additional action needed by the local community, but to follow the same prevention steps as recommended for the seasonal flu, as flu still poses a greater risk to Tompkins County residents. Follow these steps to protect yourself:

  • Get the flu vaccination if you have not done so already
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces

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