COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise in Tioga County, according to the Tioga County Public Health Department. Over the past two weeks, Tioga County has been averaging 24 new cases of COVID-19 each day, according to a press release issued by the health department April 26. As of April 26, Tioga County had 105 confirmed active cases of COVID-19.
These numbers do not include those who have tested positive with an at-home test, leaving us uncertain about how many active cases are truly circulating around our community. Although cases may seem high, of more importance, COVID-19 hospitalizations remain low during this time, as do the number of severe cases.
Tioga County Public Health continues to monitor hospitalizations and severe infections from COVID-19, which gives us a better indication of how COVID-19 is affecting the local community. According to the health department, making sure you and your family are up-to-date on the COVID-19 vaccination can help protect you against severe illness and hospitalization. Here are the current recommendations:
•COVID-19 Vaccine Primary Series: May be given to all individuals ages 5 and up.
•First Booster Shot: May be given to those 12 years and older who completed their COVID-19 vaccine
primary series at least three months ago.
•Second booster shot is recommended for adults over the age of 50, people ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, and people who received two doses (one primary and one booster dose) of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned ways to mitigate the spread of the virus and individuals are personally responsible for the actions they take to protect themselves against COVID-19,” the press release states.
Those with underlying health conditions and those who are more vulnerable to severe illness should take extra precautions during this time like wearing a mask and avoiding crowded places where it is more difficult to socially distance from others. Additional prevention measures include washing your hands often, disinfecting frequently touched objects, and focusing on other important health factors like getting plenty of sleep, making healthy food choices, and staying physically active.
If you are not feeling well and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the health department is asking that you please get tested for COVID-19 through your primary care provider or use an at-home test kit. Contact your primary care provider within the first few days of developing symptoms or testing positive for the virus to discuss whether treatment options are right for you.
New Guidance on Testing Positive
Two days after announcing the rise in cases, the health department issued another press release stating that after April 28 anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will no longer be receiving a phone call or text message from a case investigator. Instead, positive cases should follow New York State’s current isolation and quarantine guidelines:
•Isolate at home for five days from your test date or from the day you develop symptoms, with Day Zero being the day of symptom onset or your test date. Wear a well-fitting mask when leaving your home during days six to 10.
•If symptoms are not improving after five days or if you are moderately to severely immunocompromised, please continue to isolate for an additional five days, or until symptoms improve.
•Notify those you were in close contact with during the 48 hours prior to testing positive or becoming symptomatic. Close contacts should monitor for symptoms and get tested if they become symptomatic.
•If you are concerned about your symptoms, please contact your primary care provider to discuss treatment options that may be available to you.
Additional information on New York State’s Isolation & Quarantine Guidelines may be found at coronavirus.health.ny.gov/isolation-quarantine.
If you test positive for COVID-19 and need documentation for your employer or school, an Affirmation of Isolation is now being used in place of an Isolation Order for anyone who tests positive, regardless if it is a PCR Test or an At-Home COVID-19 Test. This is a fillable form and can be downloaded at tiogacountyny.gov/departments/public-health.
Staff at Tioga County Public Health will continue to monitor for new clusters forming in the community and for other concerning trends. We will still have members of our team to assist with answering questions and monitoring the current status of cases in Tioga County.
Please call the health department office at (607) 687-8600 (option one) to reach a member of the COVID-19 team. Additional COVID-19 information including Isolation & Quarantine Guidelines, COVID-19 At-Home Test Kit Pick-Up Locations, and more are available on the Tioga County Public Health website.