Coronavirus News & Updates

Cornell Health clinicians in protective equipment

"We stay here for you; please stay home for us." Read about our pandemic operations in the Cornell Chronicle. 

Questions about symptoms?

  • Students can call Cornell Health 24/7 at 607-255-5155
  • Faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider

Last updated March 27, 2020

Campus-wide information

Please refer to the university’s COVID-19 website and FAQs as the main source of information for campus-wide updates and resources.

Cornell Health information

Cornell Health expects to remain open during the remainder of the spring semester and beyond. However, we have reduced our hours and are limiting in-person services.

  • Cornell Health’s in-person services are now limited to pre-screened COVID-19 testing, urgent care needs, and select pharmacy services, in keeping with CDC guidelines for Pandemic Operations.
  • Please CALL US (607-255-5155) to schedule appointments and be pre-screened for visits (including visits to the pharmacy). We are unable to receive unscheduled walk-in traffic into the building at this time.
  • Many routine medical and mental health services are being provided via phone consultation or secure messaging. We are working through legal/regulatory/insurance barriers toward being able to introduce video visits soon.

See below for details about our current services. Visit our Appointments page to learn how to get care.

Cornell Health FAQs:

What services does Cornell Health currently offer? 

Cornell Health has implemented social distancing measures and pandemic protocols across all of our services, in accordance with CDC guidelines.

This means students and visitors must call us before coming to the building (607-255-5155). Only individuals who meet Pandemic Operations criteria will be permitted inside Cornell Health. Some other services are being provided by phone consultation or secure messaging.  

  • Medical appointments: In keeping with pandemic guidelines for outpatient care from CDC, Cornell Health must limit our in-person medical services to COVID-19-related care and urgent care needs. Patients with respiratory illness will be seen on a specialized medical unit to ensure standardized protocols and protections are maintained. All patients should call before coming to the health center, so your concern can be triaged appropriately. When you call us, we will advise you about whether your appointment will be in-person, or through phone consultation or secure messaging (we are working through legal/regulatory/insurance barriers toward making video visits available through our secure patient portal, myCornellHealth). We may ask you to contact us again after the pandemic has passed for routine healthcare needs.
  • CAPS: Currently, limited counseling and psychiatry services are available by phone. We are working through legal/regulatory/insurance barriers toward making video visits available through our secure patient portal, myCornellHealth. Learn more on our Counseling webpage.
  • Physical Therapy: PT is offering limited services by phone or video. See the PT webpage for more information.
  • All other appointments: Staff members are currently conducting some appointments, consultations, and referrals by phone. We are working through legal/regulatory/insurance barriers toward making video visits available through our secure patient portal, myCornellHealth.
  • Pharmacy: Our pharmacy will continue to provide limited prescription services and other essential health supplies, in keeping with CDC guidelines around Pandemic Operations. Students must call ahead for pharmacy services: 607-255-5155Pharmacy staff are prepping prescriptions and purchases to be ready for pickup to minimize students needing to walk into the building.

Should I get tested for COVID-19? Can I get tested at Cornell Health?

Testing may be appropriate for individuals who are concerned about symptoms and/or exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Cornell Health is able to test students who have been pre-screened by a Cornell Health provider by phone. Students can call 607-255-5155 to consult with a provider and be pre-screened for testing. (Staff and faculty should contact their primary care provider.)

Students who are tested at Cornell Health have swabs/samples taken for testing by a Cornell Health provider. Samples are then sent to a lab for testing. It usually takes several days to receive test results, during which the patient is expected to be in isolation. Cornell Health aims to search for the lab with the quickest turnaround time when sending samples out for testing.

Other testing options are available in Tompkins County. Learn more on the Tompkins County Health Department website.

Concerned that you might have been exposed to COVID-19? The Tompkins County Health Department, upon confirmation of positive cases, conducts immediate contact tracing to identify and communicate with close contacts of any positive cases. Due to privacy laws, names of individuals who test positive are not disclosed. Anyone who fits the CDC definition of a "close contact" will be contacted by the health department to determine next steps, including testing, quarantine, or other medical support.

Does SHP / SHP+ cover testing and treatment for COVID-19?

In the event that a Student Health Plan (SHP or SHP+) member requires testing and/or treatment for COVID-19:

  • Testing will be covered at no cost to the plan member when receiving care at an in-network provider office visit or urgent care center, or an emergency room.
  • Treatment will be covered with cost shares detailed in your plan documents (SHP plan documents) (SHP+ plan documents).

Can I continue to see my CAPS counselor?

Whether you remain in Ithaca, or leave campus, you should be able to continue getting support from your CAPS counselor. Counselors are currently providing counseling, consultation, and referrals by phone. Some limitations may apply; visit our Counseling webpage for details. We are working through legal/regulatory/insurance barriers toward making video visits available through our secure patient portal, myCornellHealth.

Is special assistance available for students with disabilities?

Students with disabilities should contact their Student Disability Services counselor with questions and concerns related to moving off-campus and/or to shifting to online instruction. Visit the SDS website for more information. 

Can Cornell Health provide referrals to medical or mental health services in my hometown?

Yes. We already provide support for students needing referrals to health care providers in other areas, and often provide this service for students returning home at the end of spring semester. Students who want assistant with referrals can visit our Referrals page for more information, and call us at 607-255-5155 and ask to speak with one of our Referrals nurses. 

How can I have my prescription transferred to my home pharmacy?

Cornell Health can transfer prescriptions to other pharmacies for students who are off campus as long as the student has refills remaining on their prescription.

For students needing a new or renewed prescription, students should schedule an appointment with Cornell Health – which may be in-person, by phone, or virtual visits, depending on the need – and their provider can send the prescription to the student’s preferred pharmacy. (There are some rare restrictions which our providers can help navigate if they arise.)

More details about requesting a prescription transfer and / or renewal are available on our Pharmacy page.

I’m feeling anxious about COVID-19. What can I do?

We understand that many community members are feeling anxious about this evolving public health situation, and may have concerns about friends and family experiencing the outbreak.