ITHACA, N.Y.—The Tompkins County Health Department released updated guidance on what to do if you test positive with COVID-19, reiterating its quarantine and isolation timelines despite federal changes.

According to the CDC, positive individuals are most infectious early on, usually one to two days prior to the onset of symptoms and two to three days after developing symptoms.

The press release states that the TCHD is awaiting further New York State Department of Health guidance related to the updated federal CDC recommended reductions in isolation and quarantine timeframes to five days and will communicate any local changes as soon as they are made. However, the local health department is keeping in place the 10 day quarantine period currently.

Currently TCHD positive test result protocols are as follows:

Regardless of vaccination status, individuals who test positive are to isolate immediately from others in the household and continue to isolate for 10 days from the positive test result or onset of symptoms, whichever occurred first.

If individuals receive a positive result through a self-test, they are to isolate immediately and complete a Self-Test report, following instructions on the Self-Test website.

Individuals who come into close contact with someone who tests positive are to quarantine for 10 days to the last potential exposure, maintain distance from others in the household and monitor themselves for symptoms. Individuals who are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms do not need to quarantine.

The press release also stated that at this time, the TCHD has not received any free test kits from NYS, but that if they are received, non-profit community partners will be implemented for distribution to individuals who may not be able to afford purchasing the kits through pharmacies.

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is the digital editor/reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Joining in November 2021, she has covered a wide range of topics related to local news. She can be reached at,...