Public Health News
Thanksgiving is a time when people typically gather with friends and family, but gatherings like these can easily spread COVID-19. Read on...
COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation. Following guidance from the CDC and NYSDOH, we are working closely with County Administration, elected officials, and community partners, including Cayuga Health System and other healthcare providers. The health and well-being of our community is our top priority.
Remember that this virus can spread rapidly if given the chance. Take care of yourself, your loved ones, and our community by wearing a mask when spending time with people you don't live with, limiting contact with people who aren’t members of your household, washing your hands often, and cleaning/disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. And if you do feel ill, even if you only feel a little sick, get tested then stay home. To learn more about how these steps work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, please visit: http://schuylercounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/8858/COVID-19-Prevention-How-it-works.
Who Should Get Tested for COVID-19?
COVID-19 diagnostic testing is available to all New Yorkers as of July 1, 2020. Testing is encouraged for:
- Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19. People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms including: Fever or chills; Cough; Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; Fatigue; Muscle or body aches; Headache; New loss of taste or smell; Sore throat; Congestion or runny nose; Nausea or vomiting; and Diarrhea.
- People under 21 with symptoms of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome.
- Anyone who came in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- Anyone who is an essential worker, even if they don’t have symptoms.
- Anyone being screened prior to surgery or other procedure.
How Can Residents Get Tested for COVID-19?
To find testing sites that offer both diagnostic and antibody testing for COVID-19, you can click here to use New York State’s "Find a Test Site Near You" search tool. Check with your insurance provider and the testing site as some locations may charge a fee for testing. You can also:
- Call your healthcare provider for instructions.
- Visit the Cayuga Health System sampling site in Ithaca. You can learn more about the sampling site in Ithaca and register to attend by clicking here.
- Call Schuyler Hospital at 607-535-8602. Schuyler Hospital is also offering COVID-19 testing for essential businesses. Businesses must pre-register by calling the Hospital at (607) 535-8639 extension 2718.
- Make an appointment to attend one of the testing sites run by New York State that are free of charge. The closest testing sites providing free COVID-19 diagnostic tests are in Binghamton and Rochester. To make an appointment at one of these sites call 888-364-3065.
If you develop emergency warning signs of COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs may include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency.
Where can I learn more about the travel advisory?
The New York State travel advisory requires individuals entering New York from designated areas to quarantine for 14 days or they can "test out" of the quarantine. Learn more about the travel advisory by clicking here.
- The online Traveler Health Form can be found at: traveler.health.ny.gov
Other Frequently Asked Questions
How can I do my part to protect myself, my loved ones, and my community?
- Wear a mask when out in public places or when spending time with people you don’t live with.
- Social distance by keeping at least six feet between yourself and people who aren’t members of your household.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially when you get home after being in public.
- Get tested for COVID-19, especially if you have symptoms. To find testing locations, visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you. Check with your insurance provider and the testing site as some locations may charge a fee for testing.
- Stay home if you are sick – even if your illness is mild.
Are the people who tested positive the only people in the County with COVID-19?
Our updates only include individuals who have been tested for COVID-19. There could be other people with COVID-19 in the community who haven’t been tested and have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. That’s why it is important we all continue to take the above steps to keep our community safe and healthy.
What happens when someone tests positive?
When someone residing in Schuyler County tests positive for COVID-19, we at Schuyler County Public Health are notified of the results. We call the individual, inform them of their results, and conduct contact tracing to identify and quarantine individuals who may have been exposed. The individual is also put in mandatory isolation until they are no longer considered at high risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others based on criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).
What is contact tracing?
For contact tracing, we work with the individual to identify where they went and who they interacted with while they were contagious – this time frame includes the time while they had symptoms and the 48 hours before their symptoms started, per CDC and NYSDOH guidance. For people without symptoms, we look back 48 hours before they were tested.
People are considered at risk of getting COVID-19 if they are in the same household with someone with COVID-19, had direct physical contact with someone with COVID-19 or with their infectious secretions, or were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 10 minutes or more. This would include any people the person lives with and may also include coworkers, friends, or family the person spent time with. It could also include people in a public setting.
What is (and isn’t) a public exposure risk?
Some settings, such as healthcare facilities, daycares, and some types of businesses, keep detailed records of who enters and leaves their building. If the person who tested positive was in a location like this, this would not be a public exposure risk because we can work with the location to identify and contact everyone who may have been exposed to the virus by the person who tested positive.
If someone who tested positive reports they were in a setting that doesn’t keep records of who enters (such as a retail establishment), we work with the individual to determine who they may have exposed to the virus. We examine what precautions the person was following and review details about the setting. If they were in a setting like this and may have exposed people, this would be a public exposure risk because there are people who may have been exposed to the virus that cannot be identified and contacted. If a situation like this occurs, we will inform the community and recommend that anyone who was at the location take appropriate steps like self-quarantining and getting tested for COVID-19.
How do I know if I have been identified as a close contact?
Any individuals identified as close contacts are contacted by us, or the New York State Contact Tracers, and placed in quarantine to limit how many people they end up exposing if they do develop COVID-19. They are released from quarantine once it has been 14 days since they were exposed to the person with COVID-19, unless they develop symptoms. Daily check-ins are done with both the individual who tested positive and their contacts to monitor their health, make sure they have any food, prescriptions, or other supplies they need, and to check that the individuals are following the quarantine or isolation orders.
What does recovered mean?
A person is considered recovered once all three of the following happen:
- It has been 10 or more days since their symptoms started
- Their symptoms have improved significantly (some symptoms such as a slight cough may continue for a while after they have recovered)
- They have been fever-free for 3 days in a row without a fever-reducing medicine
Can you tell me more about antibody testing?
The COVID-19 diagnostic test checks for the presence of the virus at the time of sampling. Antibody testing is different – it checks to see if you had the virus in the past. To learn more about antibody testing, click here.
If you are interested in getting antibody testing for COVID-19, reach out to your primary care provider or visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you.
Where can I find out more about COVID-19?
- Click here for information on how to prevent getting sick
- How the virus spreads
- Masks and face coverings
- Social distancing
- Cleaning and disinfecting your home
- Click here for information about how masks, handwashing, social distancing, and cleaning/disinfecting surfaces work together to help slow the spread of COVID-19
- Information for people who need to take extra precautions
- Click here for information about daily activities and going out
- Click here for information about stress and coping
- Click here for information about COVID-19 vaccines that are being developed
- 8 Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines
- COVID-19 FAQ for parents of children in school
- Click here for details about New York State's Micro-Cluster Strategy, including the metrics used to designate areas as Yellow, Orange, and Red
- In areas designated as Yellow Precautionary Zones:
- Non-essential gatherings are limited to 25 people maximum (indoors and outdoors)
- Houses of worship at 50% maximum occupancy
- Restaurant dining both indoors and outdoors are limited to 4 people per table maximum
- Businesses remain open
- Schools remain open, but must test 20% of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings
- In areas designated as Orange Warning Zones:
- Non-essential gatherings are limited to 10 people maximum (indoors and outdoors)
- Houses of worship at 33% maximum occupancy (25 people maximum)
- Restaurant dining outdoors only with a limit of 4 people per table maximum
- Businesses that are high-risk and non-essential close (gyms, personal care, etc.)
- Schools become remote-only
- In areas designated as Red Zones:
- Non-essential gatherings are prohibited
- Houses of worship at 25% maximum occupancy (10 people maximum)
- Restaurants switch to takeout/delivery only
- Businesses close except those that are essential
- Schools are remote-only
- In areas designated as Yellow Precautionary Zones:
- Click here for signage that businesses or other organizations can used to remind visitors to wear masks and social distance
- For in-depth information and guidance from the CDC for businesses, schools, workplaces, and events, click here.
- Visit the New York State Department of Health’s website found here
- Call the New York State Department of Health 24/7 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065
- Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website found here
- Call Schuyler Hospital’s COVID-19 Hotline at 607-535-8602. Available Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.
- Call Guthrie’s COVID-19 Information Lines at:
- If you have a complaint or something else you want to report, you can contact the NYS PAUSE Task Force to file a complaint by visiting https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/new-york-state-pause or by calling 1-833-789-0470.