COVID-19 Health Update

No confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Columbia community. Essential hygiene measures are the most effective means of prevention.

March 06, 2020

Dear fellow members of the Columbia Community,

I write to share an update from Columbia Health regarding COVID-19 and to reshare links with information about travel, events, and other resources. The University continues to closely monitor the changing COVID-19 situation in New York City and globally.  University leadership, with guidance from medical and public health experts, has been meeting daily to provide guidance and develop adaptive policies across all areas of campus life to support the well-being of the Columbia community.

As of March 6, no Columbia student, faculty, or staff has been diagnosed with COVID-19. In New York State, there are 33 confirmed cases, including cases in New York City, some of whom are receiving world-class care at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Over 4,000 New Yorkers are currently being monitored with precautionary quarantine due to close contact with a known case of COVID-19 or having returned from an international area of high risk.

As we approach midterms season and Spring Recess, remember that essential hygiene measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control are the most effective means of prevention. These are steps you may take whether on or off-campus:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm/elbow, or cough into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

To stay up-to-date with Columbia's ongoing response to COVID-19, please visit this newly created site, where you can sign-up for emergency notifications, find information on campus activities, see the latest travel guidance, find links to Columbia Preparedness, and medical support options. In the meantime, a hotline to address your COVID-19 questions will be available from 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday starting March 9. It can be reached at 212-854-9355.

Thank you for your collective commitment to the health and well-being of our community.

With care for our community,

Melanie Bernitz, MD, MPH
Associate Vice President and Medical Director, Columbia Health       
Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine (in the Center for Family and Community Medicine)