ITHACA, N.Y. — The Tompkins County Health Department and Cayuga Health have announced a new drive-thru sampling center, opening in the parking lot of The Shops at Ithaca Mall on Tuesday.

There are still criteria that need to be met before patients are approved for sampling. Cayuga Health has set up a webpage with more detail about who qualifies. The drive-thru sampling center will be open starting Tuesday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The drive-thru sampling center will be open starting Tuesday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. A new website with on-line registration is available at for patients to review the screening criteria and pre-register before arriving. A call center has also been set up for patients who may not have internet access, need assistance registering, or have questions, at (607)-319-5708.

“This new sampling center is another way for us to do our part to flatten the curve, get people tested, and keep our community safe,” states Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Public Health Director. “We recognize there are limitations to this sampling site and we will continue to work to find solutions to ensure that everyone who needs to get tested is able to receive this service.  I would like to thank Dr. Stallone and his entire team for leading this effort for the sampling center.”

Screening will include swabbing the throat and nose and will be sent to offsite designated testing centers for results. The new sampling center will replace the previous location, which opened on March 16.

“Testing for COVID-19 has rapidly evolved. Last week we were successful with opening one of the first COVID-19 sampling centers in New York State and we will continue to do what it takes to meet the healthcare needs of our community,” said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “I want to thank The Shops at Ithaca Mall and our Tompkins County officials for their efforts and support in making this sampling center come together so quickly. I would also like to thank the entire Cayuga Health staff for their tireless dedication and hard work over the past several weeks.”

Patients entering the screening location by car can tune into FM 96.3 to receive instructions about driving through the sampling center. Signs will also convey important information to assist with traffic control. If you do not have transportation, officials are asking potential patients not to take public transportation to the sampling center.

The criteria for testing includes two questions, according to a Cayuga Health:

  • Have you had a recent onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or body aches?
  • Have you been in the same room with a person confirmed positive with COVID-19 in the last 14 days?

Those tested must go straight home, as they will be on mandatory home isolation as directed by the Health Department. Patients will be contacted in about one week with the test result. Someone will contact individuals daily on behalf of the Health Department to ensure that there is compliance with mandatory home isolation.

TCAT’s route 30 bus stop, located at the front of the mall (adjacent to former Bon-Ton department store) will be closed while the sampling center is using the parking lot. The bus stop will be temporarily relocated around the corner, to the front of Ulta Beauty, between Dick’s Sporting Goods and Best Buy.