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 June 29, 2020

Campus-wide information

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

Cornell Health services: Summer 2020

In keeping with CDC guidelines for Pandemic Operations, we are offering limited in-person services, with many routine services provided via telehealth. We are unable to receive unscheduled walk-in traffic into the building at this time.

[see our current business hours]

  • In-person services:
    • Our in-person services are currently limited to pre-screened COVID-19 testing, select medical appointments, and pharmacy services. 
    • Please call us (607-255-5155) to be pre-screened for visits (including visits to the pharmacy).
  • Telehealth services:
    • Many routine medical and mental health services are now provided by telehealth video and phone appointment.
    • Visit our Appointments page to learn how to get care.

See the FAQs below for more details about our current services. 

COVID-19 testing:

We are providing COVID-19 testing for students who have been pre-screened by a Cornell Health provider by phone. Students can call 607-255-5155 during business hours to consult with a provider and be pre-screened for testing. See the FAQs below for more details.


What services does Cornell Health currently offer? 

  • Medical services: In-person medical services are currently limited to pre-screened COVID-19 testing (call 607-255-5155 during business hours to consult with a medical provider and be pre-screened for testing). Other medical services are being provided via telehealth video or phone appointment. For some routine healthcare needs, we are asking students to contact us again once we are able to provide our full range of in-person services. Learn more on our Primary Care Medical Services webpage.
  • CAPS: Counseling and psychiatry services are available via telehealth video or phone appointment. Learn more on our Counseling webpage.
  • Physical Therapy: PT is offering limited services via telehealth. See the PT webpage for more information.
  • All other appointments: Staff members are currently conducting many appointment types via telehealth. Please call us at 607-255-5155 during business hours to learn how to receive care, and to schedule an appointment.
  • Pharmacy: Our pharmacy will continue to provide limited prescription services and other essential health supplies. 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.

Can I get tested for COVID-19 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.

Testing at Cornell Health

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 during business hours 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.

There is no copay for COVID-19 testing at Cornell Health for students who are covered by SHP, SHP+, or the student health fee.

Other options for testing

Other testing options are available in Tompkins County. Learn more about how and where you can get tested 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+ and the Student Health Fee cover testing and treatment for COVID-19?

SHP / SHP+ members

SHP and SHP+ provide coverage for plan members who require testing and/or treatment for COVID-19, wherever they might receive care. Learn more on the Student Health Benefits website.

Students who pay the Student Health Fee

The Student Health Fee covers the visit charge to get tested for COVID-19 at Cornell Health, with no additional charge to the student. When a COVID-19 lab test is warranted, Cornell Health sends the sample to an outside lab for processing, and the lab bills the student's insurance plan. Current regulations require insurance plans to cover COVID-19 testing without cost to the patient. Please check your plan for details about COVID-19 treatment coverage. 

How do I know whether I should be in quarantine or isolation for COVID-19?

If you, your health care provider, or someone at your local health department has reason to believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you may be asked to quarantine, which means staying in a specific designated location (i.e., your home) away from others, for the purpose of observing and monitoring your health status for the development of symptoms. 

Isolation applies to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, or who are awaiting results from their COVID-19 test. Individuals in isolation should have no contact with others, and will be monitored daily by a Cornell Health staff member or a nurse from the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD). 

Refer to our Do I need to stay out of circulation for COVID-19? guide to learn more.

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 via telehealth. Some limitations may apply; visit our Counseling webpage for details. 

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 students and other community members are feeling anxious about this evolving public health situation, and may have concerns about friends and family experiencing the outbreak.

Visit our Coping During COVID-19 page for more information about how to get support, along with tips and resources to support your well-being.