Cortland County Health Department: COVID-19 Case Investigations & Contact Tracing Update (Press Release)

(Photo Source: Unsplash).

Press release from the Cortland County Health Department.

As identified by New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) on January 11th-the overwhelming increase in cases being reported by labs and self-reported positive home tests along with the shorter incubation period with the current variant has now created a situation where contact tracing is no longer an effective tool in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

It remains important that anyone with symptoms or anyone who believes they may have been exposed to someone who is positive get tested. If you test positive-please immediately isolate away from others and let any close contacts know that they may have been exposed. If you have completed a home test-you can report this positive home test result on our website-fill out the short form and hit submit at the end of the form. Please do not call the health department to report a positive home test.

The NYSDOH team (not the county health department) will be notifying positive cases to discuss isolation requirements and provide isolation orders. It is important to note though, that due to the high volume of new cases, we are asking community members to take action themselves, as you may not hear from the NYSDOH team during your isolation period. If your employer or school requires an order/release note-you can complete the isolation self-affirmation form located on our website to provide to your employer or school.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated or fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster but not yet boosted and are identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 positive person during their contagious period, are required to quarantine for 5 days after exposure and wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional 5 days. If your employer or school requires an order/release note you can complete the quarantine self-affirmation form located on our website to provide to your employer or school.

The isolation self-affirmation, quarantine self-affirmation, and positive home test reporting forms can be found on our website:

We ask that you first attempt to use the resources located on the website and not call the Health Department. Due to the high volumes of calls to our hotline, there may be a delay in response.

Our health department staff will continue in partnering with NYSDOH to provide vaccine clinics for the next 3- 4 weeks as vaccination remains the most important, safe and effective tool in this ongoing pandemic response. We will monitor for outbreaks in schools, daycares, nursing homes and other congregate settings to support their mitigation efforts in those settings and work closely with our local healthcare providers as has always been a health department role for all communicable disease.

Over the past two years, as the CDC and NYSDOH have learned more and reviewed current approaches to decreasing the spread of COVID-19, we can now begin to revise public health guidance, while leaving some critical strategies in place, like wearing a mask when indoors and in public spaces, getting tested and isolating from others when you have symptoms and continuing to encourage both vaccinations and boosters within the community.

The NYS mask mandate remains in place at this time and everyone is to continue to wear their mask when in a public setting. We appreciate that the majority of our Cortland County residents have worked hard to follow established guidelines during these unprecedented times and we ask for everyone to continue to follow updated guidelines as we work together toward a healthier environment.

For more information from NYSDOH visit the FAQs: