Cayuga Health System (CHS) officials declared on Wednesday that starting September 7, all staff, patients, and visitors across their facilities will be mandated to wear masks.
This decision comes in response to the emergence of a new COVID-19 subvariant, EG.5, which is making rounds in New York. The subvariant has caused an uptick in the virus detected in community wastewater testing and a significant rise in the number of CHS staff contracting the virus.
Tompkins County has seen increasing infection rates this summer, with an average of three positive cases daily in the four weeks leading up to a recent health alert from Tompkins County Whole Health.
As per the most recent data from the New York State Department of Health, 59 positive cases were registered in the county in the week leading up to August 30. Despite the rise in infections, hospitalizations remain low, with only four cases reported as of September 1. To support the new mask mandate, surgical masks will be provided at CHS facility entrances; however, screening procedures and plexiglass barriers won’t accompany this implementation.
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