COVID positivity rate in Tompkins County continues decline as college students return

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Many college students opted to return to Ithaca over the weekend, ahead of classes, which will start remotely. (Megan Zerez/WSKG)

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) — If you live in Ithaca, Vestal or anywhere else with a university, you’ve probably already noticed; college students are returning to town after the holidays.

Some Ithaca residents say they worry about a potential spike in COVID-19 cases. But so far, that increase in positive cases hasn’t materialized.

Many students were required to get tested upon their return to campus. In Tompkins County, the number of daily COVID-19 tests quadrupled over the weekend.

But even with all the extra travel and testing, the county continues to see its overall case rates decline

Tompkins County Health Director Frank Kruppa said he is hopeful that trend will stick.

“We do expect over the next couple of weeks, [students] will continue to come back,” Kruppa said. “Hopefully, we’ll see the same results with the positive tests being low.”

Cornell University* and Ithaca College have both begun their semesters remotely, though many students opted to return to town ahead of classes. In-person instruction will resume next week.

*Cornell is a WSKG underwriter.