TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — The COVID-19 sampling site at the Ithaca Mall is closing after nearly three years of serving as one of Tompkins County’s main bulwarks against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Tompkins County announced on Friday that the site will be closing on May 5. The sample site, operated by Cayuga Health, offers free COVID-19 testing for local residents, the cost of which was covered by the county until January 2023. Cayuga Health has agreed to cover the cost of testing until May but, after a multi-month review and a notable decline in use, officials are choosing to close down the site. 

The decision closely coincides with the end of the Federal Emergency Declaration on May 11, which made federal funds available to cover the cost of testing, as well as administering vaccines and other supplies.

Over 300,000 tests have been administered through the site, Cayuga Health’s CEO Martin Stallone said. In a written statement released by Tompkins County, Stallone said, “It was an honor to provide this vital service to our community during a time of great uncertainty. Cayuga Health appreciates the trust the Health Department and Legislature placed in us.

Tompkins County Legislature Chair Shawna Black called the site “one of the best investments that the county made during the pandemic.”

In a written statement, Tompkins County Whole Health Commissioner Frank Kruppa said, “Thank you to the Tompkins County Legislature who made an important decision to cover the cost of testing for County residents to promote equity and access throughout the pandemic. The partnership between the health system and County serves as a model, and we look forward to collaborating in the future.”

Jimmy Jordan

Jimmy Jordan is Senior Reporter for The Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact him at Connect with him on Twitter @jmmy_jrdn