COVID-19 Testing & Care

Testing at the Mall sampling site

Free testing is available for all Tompkins County residents at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site at the Ithaca Mall. Appointments are required: visit

Testing in Geneva or NYC

Ithaca campus students in Geneva or New York City whose Daily Check status turns red can find instructions here.

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

Contact the university’s COVID-19 Support Center for questions related to the Daily Check, surveillance / arrival testing, travel, vaccines, and more. Submit a help request or call 607-253-7500 (Support Center hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00-5:00 for email & 9:00-4:00 for phone; Saturday-Sunday, 10:00-1:00 for email & phone).

See information below about ...

Diagnostic COVID-19 testing at Cornell Health

Cornell Health provides diagnostic testing for students who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, have had known exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or who meet other diagnostic criteria.

Cornell Health does not oversee the university's surveillance testing (see below).

How to be tested for cause at Cornell Health:

  • Students should call us at 607-255-5155 during business hours to be pre-screened for testing (must meet diagnostic criteria). 
  • There is no cost for diagnostic testing at Cornell Health. 
  • Test results are typically are available within 24 hours. Students are expected to self-quarantine while they await their results.

Adaptive COVID-19 testing at Cornell Health

Adaptive testing goes “above and beyond” public health guidelines to identify students and other Cornell community members who may have been exposed to a known case but who do not meet public health criteria for quarantine. Adaptive testing is often appropriate for individuals in classrooms, clubs, teams, and houses. (See "Adaptive testing’ quickly IDs infections within social circles.")

How to access adaptive testing from Cornell Health:

  • Individuals who feel adaptive testing might be right for them should call us at 607-255-5155 during business hours to discuss their interest in testing. If medical staff agree adaptive testing is warranted, testing could happen in a variety of settings. 
  • There is no cost for adaptive testing provided by Cornell Health. 
  • Test results are typically are available within 24 hours. While no formal quarantine is required, students are asked to stay in their housing locations while awaiting the results of adaptive testing.

Cornell's surveillance testing through Cayuga Health System

Cornell's mandatory surveillance testing (including arrival testing) are provided through a partnership with Cayuga Health System, with oversight from the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Integration. This ongoing screening is designed to identify positive cases among asymptomatic students, and isolate those cases to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Cornell Health does not oversee the university's COVID-19 surveillance testing or the Daily Check.

More information about surveillance testing & the Daily Check:

Note: Students who test positive for COVID-19 are exempt from surveillance testing for a period of (typically) 90 days.

    Care for students who test positive for COVID-19

    Students who test positive for COVID-19 – through surveillance testing or through diagnostic testing at Cornell Health – are placed under the care of Cornell Health and the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD).

    The TCHD monitors all positive COVID-19 cases in the county, including assessing isolation housing needs and conducting contact tracing. Cornell Health works closely with the TCHD, as well as with campus partners, to provide care and support for students with COVID-19.


    Students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be directed to self-isolate for approximately 10 days (length of time is determined on a case-by-case basis by the TCHD).

    • Students living in university housing are provided with private isolation housing and meals. 
    • Students living off campus are assessed by the TCHD to determine whether they can self-isolate in their off-campus residence. If a student can’t self-isolate where they are, the TCHD works with Cornell Health staff to arrange appropriate isolation housing and meals.
    • All students in isolation are contacted each day by Cornell Health to help monitor their symptoms, and to provide additional support if needed (see more information below).

    Visit our Isolation for COVID-19 page for more details.

    Care for students with symptoms 

    Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 are contacted each day by Cornell Health to help monitor their symptoms, and to provide consultation, care management, and self-care guidance. Students are also contacted daily by the TCHD to monitor their recovery. Guidance for students about monitoring their own symptoms is available on our Isolation for COVID-19 page.

    Cornell Health and the TCHD work closely with the local hospital, Cayuga Medical Center, in the event that a student requires medical care or hospitalization for their symptoms. Information about the hospital's capacity to respond to a possible surge in COVID-19 cases is available on the Cayuga Health System website.

    Contacting / sharing information with family members: Students' personal health information is confidential. Students must sign a release before our staff can share information about a positive COVID-19 diagnosis with others, including family members. In the event of an emergency, Cornell Health will contact parents / family members that students have included in their emergency contacts. 

    About contact tracing

    If you test positive for COVID-19 and are asked to identify people with whom you have recently interacted, your honesty is crucial to helping control the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The information you provide will not be used to penalize any student for their behavior.  

    Testing for Ithaca students in Geneva or NYC

    If you are an Ithaca campus student located in Geneva or in New York City (e.g., AAP in NYC), and your Daily Check status turns red ....

    1. Call Cornell Health during business hours607-255-5155.
    2. If a Cornell Health clinician determines that you need a diagnostic COVID-19 test, they can order a test for you. You can access and print your order through myCornellHealth and bring it to a testing site of your choice. 
    3. Be sure to have the testing provider send Cornell Health the test results, or you can upload the results to myCornellHealth

    Finding a local testing site:


    If you have questions that are not addressed above, we invite you to call us during business hours at 607-255-5155, or email (please do not email personal health information).