Health Advisory: Current Status on Coronavirus
Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
The University continues to closely monitor information and expert national and international recommendations regarding the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first detected in Wuhan, China. We write to share these updates.
Summary of developments as of 2/6/20 at 12pm
- There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City.
- Travel restrictions are in place.
- Effective January 29, the University is restricting student, faculty, and staff travel to China.
- The U.S. Department of state updated its China travel advisory to Level 4 – Do Not Travel.
- The U.S. Health and Human Services announced it is "temporarily suspending the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus."
- Self-monitoring and mandatory quarantines are in effect.
- Effective February 2, any U.S. citizen who has been in Hubei Province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine after returning to the United States.
- U.S. citizens who have been in mainland China during the previous 14 days and are returning will undergo screening at their port of entry and will be subject to up to 14 days of self-monitoring.
- Columbia University requests that all Columbia University affiliates currently in China or who have returned from mainland China within the past 14 days fill out a secure and confidential registration form so Columbia Health can provide you with assistance, instructions, and recommendations regarding self-isolation. If this applies to you and you have not already done so, we ask that you fill it out promptly.
Steps you can take to protect your health
- Wash your hands frequently; avoid contact with sick people; avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose; get plenty of sleep; manage stress; clean high-touch surfaces with disinfectant wipes; and drink plenty of fluids.
- Carry on with normal activities. If you are not currently experiencing symptoms and have not returned from China in the past 14 days, you should feel free to attend classes, go to planned events, and engage with life as usual.
Remember it is cold and flu season
Members of our community who have symptoms of fever, cough, and difficulty breathing who have not recently been in China are likely to have a cold or the flu. Please call 212-854-7426 for Morningside Medical Services or 212-304-3500 for CUIMC Medical Services or contact your primary care clinician.
Caring for our community
The health and well-being of our community is a group effort and we appreciate your engagement throughout this process. That well-being is strengthened by our continued support and respect for the dignity and humanity of each member.
If you or someone you know has experienced bias, please reach out to your Dean of Students. For questions or concerns regarding discrimination, please contact Student Conduct and Community Standards. If you are feeling anxious or are worried about friends and family because of the news about the coronavirus, we encourage you to contact our University resources. Students may contact Columbia Health’s Counseling and Psychological Services or CUIMC’s Mental Health Services. Employees may make use of our Employee Assistance Program.
The University would like to thank the global Columbia community for its rapid response to this outbreak and to supporting the wellbeing of our community, as well as the inquiries that help inform the content of the growing 2019 Novel Coronavirus FAQ on the University’s Preparedness site. We encourage you to read the information on this page as it addresses many of the community’s most common concerns. If you have a question that is not addressed in the FAQs, please reach out to Columbia Health.
We recognize that the full extent of this outbreak is yet to be revealed. Please be assured that the University is committed to monitoring these developments and providing timely, evidence-informed guidance to the community to keep all of us safe and healthy. We look forward to your partnership in the same.
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)