Coronavirus Updates

(As of May 22, 2020)

What You Need to Know

  • There is widespread community transmission of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) in New York City. Please follow public health precautions, including practicing social distancing and staying home if you are sick. All New Yorkers should monitor their health carefully.

  • All research and operational activities will be conducted remotely, with the exception of a small number of employees who must be onsite to perform their work. For those who must conduct their work on campus, we are taking every precaution to ensure your safety and we will follow up with you directly with more details.

  • School buildings will remain open to those whose work requires them to be on-site. Others who need to access the buildings should make arrangements: students please contact OSA at msph-osa@columbia.edu or 212-342-3128; faculty and staff please contact Brian Byrne, director of operations, at bb2505@cumc.columbia.edu.

  • The University has suspended all Columbia-related travel, both international and domestic, for all affiliates until further notice. Consistent with CDC guidance, Columbia advises all affiliates who have returned from ANY international travel, stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing. Follow the self-isolation guidance found on the Columbia COVID site. Additionally, all Columbia affiliates are strongly urged to postpone any non-essential personal travel abroad. Clinical staff should review CUIMC's Coronavirus Information for Providers and Clinical Staff.

  • Columbia Health’s COVID-19 phone hotline is available for questions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday: 212-854-9355. Columbia Health has also shared coping tools here.

Please read Dean Linda P. Fried’s March 15 letter to our community.

In times like this, the paramount importance of public health is evident. Our community has risen to this challenge with compassion, resilience, and expertise to protect the health of our community; to help slow the spread of the virus in our region and improve population health; and to ensure the continuity of our teaching, research, and service mission. We are grateful to our colleagues who continue to perform essential work on-site, including critical coronavirus research, and our colleagues at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital who are providing care and support for patients.

Columbia University and our School have established resources to support students, faculty, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, including information on policies, online education, and health and wellbeing. We encourage you to visit Columbia’s COVID-19 Guidance page and the CUIMC resource page, which are updated regularly with resources and information.

The well-being of our community is a top priority and we are actively monitoring the situation. We are following the guidance of the NYC Department of Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, and Columbia University. As this is an evolving situation, we are also developing and implementing contingency plans and policies with the University and Medical Center, including contingency plans for remote learning and working, should the need arise.

As a School of Public Health, we also have the unique opportunity to tap into the expertise of our faculty, who include some the of world’s top infectious disease experts, as we plan.

Health care

COVID-19, which is caused by the SAR-CoV-2 virus, can lead to fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, headache, and shortness of breath. If you are not feeling well, particularly if you are feeling feverish and have an accompanying cough, congestion, or difficulty breathing, or if you have any questions about whether you should stay home, please call at Student Health Service at CUIMC (212-305-3400) or Columbia Health at Morningside (212-854-7426). Employees should contact their health care provider or the Employee Assistance Program.

Some tips to protect your health:

  • It’s not too late to get the flu shot. Remember, the flu is very common and can be quite severe.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing — do not use your hands.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Print a how-to sign for your home.

  • Clean high-touch surfaces with disinfectant wipes.

  • Drink plenty of fluids.