Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Wearing a mask is one of the requirements for Cornell students this fall.

April 15, 2020

What To Do If You Think You Have COVID-19

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As COVID-19 cases rise across the country, information and preparation are necessary to mitigate the spread.

Similar to influenza, transmission of COVID-19 spreads among people through respiratory droplets exchanged in close contact or on contaminated surfaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since people may have the virus but remain asymptomatic — as symptoms may appear up to 14 days after exposure — proper precautions are recommended. Prevention methods like hand-washing, physical distancing and wearing cloth face coverings in public have proven effective, as a vaccine has not yet been developed.

Symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 include mild to severe respiratory illness — including fever, cough and shortness of breath.

If you are showing these symptoms, you should stay at home and self-isolate while staying in contact with your doctor. Most people with COVID-19 have a mild illness and can recover at home without medical care, according to the CDC.

Usually self-isolation can be accomplished in your own home by placing you in your own bedroom with use of your own bathroom, according to the Tompkins County Health Department. If using a common bathroom among household members, disinfect all touch surfaces after use. Household members should stay away from you inside your home and should not be allowed to use your bedroom or bathroom.

In Tompkins County, you can be tested if you had a recent onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath or body aches or if you have been in the same room with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

The sampling center is located in the parking lot of the Shops at Ithaca Mall and is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To get tested, pre-register online or call 607-319-5708.

Results can take up to one week, and you must remain in isolation at home until you get your test results.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 — including, but not limited to trouble breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion, inability to arouse or bluish lips or face — seek medical attention immediately.

Students remaining in Ithaca who have flu-like symptoms should call Cornell Health at 607-255-5155 — which operates 24/7 — for consultation.

Cornell Tech students may call Weill Cornell Medicine at 646-962-7300 and should identify themselves as a Cornell Tech student. The call center staff will schedule a virtual appointment for you with a doctor, which will be conducted on the Weill Cornell Medicine portal app via video phone conference. Faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider.