TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—The Tompkins County Health Department has reported a steady, worrisome climb in COVID-19 cases over the last several days, with 390 positive tests over the last week—though, for context, during that time there were also 210 recoveries. There are currently 340 active cases in Tompkins County.

Luckily, the corresponding hospitalization rate has remained low. While the number of active cases has ebbed and flowed in Tompkins County since a jump in September largely fueled by incoming college students, hospitalizations have remained in single digits since Oct. 2—and are still there, with eight people in the hospital with active COVID-19 cases.

The jump could maybe have been predicted, considering it mirrors a trend that emerged in 2020: early in December, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, active case numbers rose consistently, in part a result of holiday gatherings. Perhaps a similar situation is playing out now, though more details will likely be unveiled at Thursday’s COVID-19 update, held virtually at 4:30 p.m. on YouTube by the Health Department.

Some of the positive tests are coming from the sizable Cornell community, but not as large a portion as the early September jump, when the influx of students led to the highest active case numbers in the county since the pandemic began. There are currently 79 active student cases.

The vaccination rate, on the other hand, is still slowly progressing. The county has fallen behind the statewide rate, which hasn’t often been true, as New York’s is at 79.4 percent and the county’s sits at 78.6 percent. There is a Moderna booster clinic being held on Dec. 11, but all appointments have already been taken.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at