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Omicron variant spreading to the community



Tompkins County, New York – The Tompkins County Health Department shared the results of sequencing positive COVID-19 tests on Friday, saying they show a high rate of omicron transmission among Cornell Students ages 18 to 24 as well as additional cases of the variant in the broader community.

The initial batch of positive results from the 18 to 24 population resulted in 115 confirmed cases of the omicron variant, according to the Tompkins County Health Department.

The results indicate that the primary variant spreading among the students in the 18 to 24 age range is the highly transmissible omicron variant.

So far, there have not been any severe cases reported among the student population, the Health Department said.

“We are able to see, nearly in real-time, how omicron is spreading in our community,” said Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “This is a testament to how important access to testing and sequencing is, and how fortunate we are to have partners in Cornell and Cayuga Health committed to ongoing pandemic response and transparency.”

An additional batch of positive samples from one day of testing people at the Shops at Ithaca Mall resulted in 18 of 44 cases showing signs of the omicron variant; the department is awaiting additional results of positive tests, according to the Health Department.

“We’re now seeing that the omicron variant is spreading in the wider community and that is the predominant strain amongst the college student population,” said Kruppa. “We’re seeing the variant spread more rapidly, but we are not seeing it increase the severity of disease in those who are testing positive or increase the number of people hospitalized in our community.”