Please read our updated visitor policy. For information about COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and travel advice, please read our patient guide. If you have developed a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms, please schedule a Video Visit to discuss symptoms with your provider.
You are here
Health and safety are always among our top priorities at Weill Cornell Medicine. We are closely watching updates from trusted healthcare organizations and governmental recommendations about the new coronavirus (COVID-19), and will continue to keep you informed.
How to Get Care
- If you believe that you require emergency care, please call 911.
- Virtual Care: at this time, we have adjusted many appointments to video visits. If you have concerns or are experiencing symptoms, you can schedule immediately.
- In-Person Appointments: If you have developed a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms, please call your provider before visiting one of our practice locations. Please also review our updated visitor policy and list of temporary closed locations.
Resources to Stay Informed & Healthy
In addition to the resources on this page, you may also call NewYork-Presbyterian's COVID Hotline at 646-697-4000. This hotline is available as a public service to provide information only and not to diagnose, treat, or render a medical opinion.
Symptoms and Testing Information
How serious is this virus and what are the range of symptoms?
Reported symptoms due to infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 have ranged from mild to severe. Symptoms may include fever, cough or shortness of breath. There is some evidence that children have milder disease but experts are still learning about the range of illness caused by COVID-19.
How long before symptoms of the virus appear?
The CDC believe at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear between two and 14 days after exposure.
How can I get tested for COVID-19?
At this time all testing must be approved by the New York State Department of Health. Testing is currently limited to patients with severe disease or those with symptoms who have recently traveled to one of the high-risk countries or have had close contact with a known case of COVID-19. Patients without symptoms or with typical cold symptoms are not eligible for testing. Even when expanded testing is available, healthcare providers will still only test those for whom there is a clinical indication for testing.
How do I tell the difference between the flu, a cold, and COVID-19?
Influenza (flu) can have very similar symptoms as the common cold but often with more acute onset, severe muscle aches, headache and fever of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit with chills, sweats and often profound fatigue and malaise.
Symptoms of the common cold usually include runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, mild aches and cough. The symptoms are typically mild with minimal to no fever.
COVID-19 symptoms may range from mild to severe, and include fever and cough and possibly shortness of breath. If your symptoms are mild, with only low-grade fever, and accompanied by sore throat, runny nose and/or nasal congestion, you do not have infection with COVID-19.
What happens if I’ve been exposed or diagnosed with the COVID-19?
If you have been exposed or diagnosed by a healthcare professional, you might be provided with instructions for at-home self-monitoring. This includes checking yourself for fever and remaining alert to any changes in fever, cough or shortness of breath for 14 days.
What is home self-monitoring?
Home self-monitoring means you check yourself for fever and remain alert for cough or shortness of breath. Everyone who's at home self-monitoring has been provided a plan for whom to contact during the self-monitoring period to determine whether medical evaluation is needed if they develop fever, cough or shortness of breath. People on home self-monitoring are also asked to stay at home and avoid going outside for the entire self-monitoring period. You should not attend work, school, public events or group gatherings.
If I’m under self-monitoring, what if I need to leave home to receive medical care for a chronic illness or other issue?
If you need to see a doctor or healthcare provider for a medical problem, you should call your provider ahead of your visit and let them know about your recent travel.
Work, Life and Travel Recommendations
Can COVID-19 be spread through food? Should I eat or avoid certain foods?
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food you should make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Be sure to wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, using the bathroom or touching surfaces that may have been touched by others.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Keep all work surfaces clean and disinfected with common household cleaners on a regular basis.
I have a trip planned. Should I cancel it?
The CDC provides recommendations—called travel notices—on postponing or canceling travel. These notices are based on assessments of the potential health risks involved in traveling to a certain area. Here is a list of destinations with travel notices. Physicians at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian are following the CDC guidelines in our recommendations
I’m hearing about different levels of travel notices. What do they mean?
Warning Level 3: CDC recommends travelers avoid all non-essential travel to destinations with level 3 travel notices because of the risk of getting COVID-19.
Alert Level 2: Because COVID-19 can be more serious in older adults and those with chronic medical conditions, people in these groups should speak with a healthcare provider and consider postponing travel to destinations with level 2 travel notices.
Watch Level 1: CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to destinations with level 1 travel notices because the risk of COVID-19 is considered low. If you travel, take the following routine precautions:
- Avoid contact with those who are showing signs and symptoms of illness.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
- It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose