COVID-19 Testing at Columbia
On May 12, 2022, Columbia University phased out its robust COVID-19 testing program due to wide availability of tests and high vaccination coverage of the campus community.
Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19, should contact their campus medical service (Columbia Health for Morningside/Manhattanville students or Student Health on Haven for CUIMC students) or primary care provider (faculty and staff) for guidance on testing.
Columbia will continue to conduct wastewater surveillance monitoring of the undergraduate residential buildings. The University will maintain the ability to provide on-campus testing as needed for future surveillance efforts.
Off-campus COVID-19 Testing
PCR and rapid tests are available at sites throughout New York City for symptomatic as well as asymptomatic individuals, many at no-cost. Visit nyc.gov/covidtest to find the location nearest you.
COVID-19 at-home self-testing kits are available through the US government or through a city program administered through 14 cultural institutions and 27 branches of the New York public library system.
Faculty and staff enrolled in any of the University’s employee medical plans have options through OptumRx.
Students on the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan can learn more about purchasing, reimbursement, and no out-of-pocket cost options for at-home test kits on the Columbia Health (Morningside/Manhattanville) or Student Health on Haven (CUIMC) websites.
Students enrolled in other insurance should contact their insurance provider for details about how to obtain tests with no out-of-pocket costs or submit for reimbursement for their at-home tests.
Guidance for individuals who test positive for COVID-19
Individuals who test positive may email [email protected] for further guidance and help navigating resources for a successful isolation.
Most individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can end their isolation after 5 days if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours); if fever persists or other symptoms are not resolving, isolation may be extended beyond 5 days. Day 0 is considered the first day of symptom onset and/or the day of a positive test result.
Following completion of a 5-day isolation, a well-fitting non-cloth mask must be worn for an additional 5 days when around others, including household members. Individuals who are unable to wear a well-fitting mask for an additional 5 days after a 5-day isolation should follow standard (i.e., not shortened) 10-day isolation guidance. Individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should also follow standard (i.e., not shortened) 10-day isolation guidance.
Students who test positive may contact Columbia Health (Morningside/Manhattanville campus) or Student Health on Haven (CUIMC) for medical evaluation and treatment, if desired. For return to campus, students may coordinate directly with their academic programs or may reach out to [email protected] with any questions. Faculty and staff may coordinate directly with their supervisor and/or HR department.
Note: there is no testing requirement in order to exit isolation on day 5 if the above criteria are met. If a person chooses to repeat an antigen test on or after day 6 and tests positive, they should extend their isolation period to day 10. A person can potentially test positive on PCR tests for up to 90 days after infection even though they would not be able to infect others. Repeat PCR testing within the 90-day period is not advised unless newly symptomatic and/or directed to test by a health care provider.