Updated: Tompkins, Tioga Counties Each Have Positive COVID-19 Test

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Updated: 3/15/20 – 2:11 P.M.

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – Tompkins and Tioga Counties have their first positive tests for COVID-19, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.*

According to the Tompkins County Health Department, the individual there, described as a member of the Ithaca College community, began showing symptoms March 5th and has been in isolation since the sample was taken for testing. TCHD said it’s investigating to see who else may have been exposed to this person.**

Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Radio

(Left to Right) Dr. Marty Stallone, CEO, Cayuga Medical Center; Frank Kruppa, Director, Tompkins County Health Department; Jason Molino, Tompkins County Administrator. (Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Radio)

“While this is the first case of COVID-19 in Tompkins County, we are prepared to respond to limit future exposures and community spread of the virus,” said Tompkins Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “We are looking to our community to take shared responsibility by practicing social distancing and helping each other during the weeks to come.”

The public is encouraged to avoid large gatherings, especially with vulnerable populations like the elderly. People should also stay home if they feel sick and wash their hands thoroughly.

New York has also announced its first COVID-19 related death. According to Governor Cuomo, that was an 82-year-old woman in New York City with emphysema. Speaking on CNN on Saturday, Cuomo stressed that the woman was part of that vulnerable population because she was elderly and had a respiratory illness.

“You’re going to see people who are ill, older people who have underlying respiratory illnesses who get the coronavirus,” he said. “They will be in a grave situation and we will see this over and over and over again.”

Cuomo has stressed that most people outside of these vulnerable populations are not at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, but could transmit it to vulnerable people.

While most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York have been downstate, Cuomo’s office said Delaware and Broome Counties also have confirmed cases.

Delaware County health officials confirmed its case, but Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said Cuomo’s office is mistaken about the case there. Neither Garnar nor Cuomo’s offices have responded to inquiries about the miscommunication. As of Friday, the case is still listed on the governor’s website.

In Pennsylvania, Wayne County has had a confirmed case since last weekend.

*Updated to reflect positive test in Tioga County.

**Updated to reflect updated information on the positive test in Tompkins County.