While she says these advisories may be frustrating to the public, she says it’s important to remember that the contact tracing team’s ability to track the virus is an important part of keeping businesses open. “We never want to hurt a businesses’s reputation, that’s not what it’s about,” she says. “At the end of the day anybody can be carrying this virus, anybody can go into one of these locations. It’s just where we’re able to trace it back to.” Data from the Tioga County Public Health Department says they have seen 21 new confirmed cases since July 3. That’s compared to just 7 in the 19 days leading up to the 4th of July holiday. “It’s not just about you, yourself, what you want to do in your time off and who you want to spend time with. You really need to think about the bigger picture: who you’re going to come into contact with and who those individuals have in their lives,” she says. “As long as we keep complying hopefully we can keep our numbers low here, if not we could potentially look at numbers going up and leading to closures,” she says. Holochak says some of these new cases have led the department to issue advisories for local establishments where someone infected with the virus has visited. She says although continuing to have to put on that mask and practice social distancing may be frustrating, she wants you to remember that local health officials are working to keep their residents safe, not to frustrate anyone. She also stresses that wearing masks and social distancing isn’t just about keeping businesses open, it’s about keeping Tioga County healthy and protecting high risk individuals. “People need to comply, they need to wear their masks when they’re out in public and they need to socially distance,” says Kylie Holochak, Senior Public Health Educator for the Tioga County Health Department. “Over the past week or so we have seen an uptick in new cases in our county, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of individuals who have been put in a mandatory quarantine.” For more information on cases of COVID-19 in Tioga County, click here. “People had backyard gatherings, they saw a lot of friends and family over the long weekend and that definitely did lead to new cases,” she says. She says the department blames the uptick in confirmed cases and mandatory quarantines on two things: travel to and from states on New York State’s travel ban list as well as an increase in large gatherings surrounding the July 4th holiday. She says this is never easy, but the department’s contact tracing team is relatively small and putting out those advisories is the most effective way for them to reach people who may have been exposed to the virus. OWEGO (WBNG) — A recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Tioga County has public health officials reminding everyone to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing.