Health Updates

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

To see the university's latest updates, communications and testing data, visit

Frequently Asked Questions


A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. 

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms, appearing anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure. Common symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

For more information on symptoms, visit the CDC's symptoms page.

  • Stay home. 
  • If on campus, call Health Services at 216.368.2450. Please do not come in. Faculty and staff, or students who are off campus, should contact their primary medical providers.
  • Avoid public transportation.
  • Separate yourself from other people in your home. As much as possible stay in a specific “sick room” and away from other people. Use a separate bathroom, if available. 
  • Limit contact with pets and animals. 

For additional information on what to do if you are sick, visit the CDC website

Updates on the university's testing rates and number of positive cases are available on our Return to Campus website. These numbers are updated weekly on Tuesdays.

For the latest numbers of cases in Ohio and Cuyahoga County, visit the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 page.

Aetna will waive co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19, including test kits for patients who meet CDC guidelines for testing, which can be done in any approved laboratory location. Aetna will waive the member costs associated with diagnostic testing at any authorized location.

Students are also welcome to ask questions of a Medical Plan representative via or Aetna's customer service representatives at 877.850.6038.

As of late November, the university requires weekly testing for students on campus and for faculty/staff who must come to campus through the end of 2020. In the fall, the university switched to a saliva test as part of its surveillance testing procedures.

In September, the university shifted from screening to surveillance testing. Our model, developed in consultation with public health experts, involves testing random samples of students per week to identify potential COVID-19 infection trends. The large majority are undergraduates living and/or learning on campus, but graduate and professional students are also among those in the random samples.

Students in a particular week’s sample receive a message from University Health & Counseling Services notifying them that they need to come to the testing site at Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center on a specific weekday (typically a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday). 

Given that the selection process is random, we recognize that, in some instances, students may have valid reasons they cannot get to testing on a particular day. They will have an online opportunity to explain why they need to reschedule and, when appropriate, health services will work to accommodate them. 

To be clear, however, participation in this surveillance testing is required for those who wish to be able to continue to live and/or learn on campus. It is an essential aspect of our efforts to keep the campus healthy and well, just as we—and you—agreed as part of the Campus Commitment.

UHCS will continue to promptly arrange testing of symptomatic students and those potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19.

For students traveling from states under Ohio's Travel Advisory and quarantining before entering the residence halls: All students will be tested for COVID-19 shortly before their quarantine is complete. The university will contact students and provide transportation for testing. If students test negative for COVID-19, they will proceed to move into residence halls or Greek housing.

In addition, Ohio now offers pop-up testing sites; visit the state's website for more information.

  • Stay home from work, school and away from other public places. 
  • Monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call Health Services or your provider immediately. 
  • Get rest and stay hydrated. 
  • Cover your cough and sneezes. 
  • For medical emergencies, call 911 if off campus or 216.368.3333 if on campus and notify the dispatch personnel that you have or may have COVID-19. 
  • Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like dishes towels and bedding. 
  • Clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs. 

For more information visit the CDC webpage on caring for yourself at home

Students who are on campus should contact Residence Life at 216.368.6325 or or Campus Housing at 216.368.3780 or if you need assistance. 


Prevention methods for COVID-19 (coronavirus) include:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • wear a mask when in public (masks are required on campus both indoors and outdoors);
  • practice social distancing (maintain at least 6 feet distance);
  • avoid close contact with other people who are ill;
  • cough into your elbow;
  • regularly clean door handles and other surfaces with disinfectant spray or wipes; and
  • stay home if sick.

Visit the CDC website for other resources and suggestions.

  • Stay home. 
  • Limit contact when running errands.
  • Choose safe social activities.
  • Give yourself a buffer zone. Try not to get physically close to people when you’re outside your home. As a general rule, try to be 6 feet away from the closest person.
  • Rethink your greeting. Don’t hug or shake hands. 
  • Avoid groups of people. More people = more chances to come in direct (or indirect) contact with the virus. 

Find more information on the CDC website.

Studies show that effective handwashing can reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses by as much as 20 percent. Below is specific guidance from health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides extensive guidance on handwashing; among its key recommendations are to wash hands no for no fewer than 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice), and if using hand sanitizer, make sure it has at least 60 percent alcohol.

The World Health Organization has even more detailed hand hygiene guidance. Please pay particular attention to pages 3 and 4 of this document.

As of July, the State of Ohio requires masks indoors and outdoors, except when keeping a distance of 6 feet from others, when actively eating/drinking, and a few other exceptions. (Read the full order online.) Case Western Reserve requires masks in all spaces, except indoor offices where you are alone.

Learn more about masks on the CDC website.

  • Get a flu shot. We strongly recommend that everyone obtain seasonal flu vaccination. While it will not prevent COVID-19, influenza is in widespread circulation in Ohio, and initial symptoms can be similar to novel coronavirus. Any illness right now can increase anxiety and concerns.  
  • Wash your hands. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Don’t share food and drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently (e.g. door knobs, desks, phones)
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

Originally drafted by Undergraduate Student Government President Hunter Stecko, the university’s community commitment is meant to serve as both a reminder for what the community should be doing daily to stay healthy, but also a guide for how students, faculty and staff can work together to help ensure the campus remains open.

In addition to a focus on the mindset those on campus should strive for in their decision-making—thinking for the good of your neighbors and community—the commitment also outlines practical actions to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, cleaning up after working in common areas and refraining from hosting non-essential visitors on campus.

Watch the video or read the full community commitment.

Information for Parents

Students should self-isolate (please follow these instructions). They should call University Health Services at 216.368.2450 or their local healthcare provider for additional instructions. 

Please visit our homepage for the most up-to-date information on University Health & Counseling Services hours and services.

Students with symptoms are asked to self-isolate in their residence hall or apartment. Students on campus receive meals and supplies for self-monitoring and hygiene, and UHS staff also follow their progress, Students should contact UHS right away if their symptoms worsen. 

Students who are on-campus can contact Residence Life at 216.368.6325 or or Campus Housing at 216.368.3780 or if they need assistance. Students should also contact Health Service at 216.368.2450 if their symptoms worsen. 

University Counseling Services is providing visits via telephone. Students who would like to speak to a counselor, call 216.368.5872. The counselor on call will connect that student with an appropriate clinician based on the student's location and concerns. 

Please refer to the Do I Need to Self-Isolate or Quarantine page for instructions on what to do if your student was exposed. 

UHS has received similar reports, and has investigated every one. In instances of confirmed or suspected cases, UHS contacts any member of the campus community known to have been in contact with that student. 

Additional Questions and Guidance

If you are a student, you can contact University Counseling Services at 216.368.5872 (a counselor is available 24/7).

If you are a faculty or staff member, you can contact IMPACT Solutions, a confidential and free counseling and referral program for benefits-eligible employees. To learn more, visit the CWRU Human Resources website.

In addition, we have a number of tips for managing fears and anxiety around coronavirus. We hope the following information will help you better understand reactions you may have and, if needed, point you to helpful resources.

  • Contact a counselor. If you need to speak with a counselor, please call (216) 368-5872 any time.
  • Take care of your mind. Constant searching, scrolling or consumption of coronavirus news will can make students feel more anxious and afraid. Take breaks from media coverage and use this page for updates rather than checking unreliable sites. 
  • Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Reach out to others and offer support, empathy, information and, if possible, tangible help. Stay connected using technology such as video chat, Zoom group calls, and cellphone texting and conversations. Personal relationships are crucial in maintaining perspective and elevating mood.
  • Increase your feel-good activities. Whether mindfulness, talking to your friends and family members, going for walks, journaling, or watching Netflix, now is the time to increase positive experiences in your daily schedule. For a quick stress reliever, University Health and Counseling services offers free guided meditations
  • Take care of your body. Eating healthy meals, exercising, getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, and limiting your alcohol consumption can help your immune system. Even while maintaining a safe distance from other people, you can still go outside! Regular exercise can reduce anxiety.

Additional mental health resources can be found here. 

While CWRU works to protect the health of our campus community, UH&CS is open and here to support our students. 

We continue to operate under normal business hours

Health Services: 

Health Services is currently offering phone and video visits, with in-person visits at the discretion of Health Service staff. 

  • If you would like an appointment with Health Services, please call (216) 368-2450 to speak with a medical professional. 
  • You are welcome to continue using for requesting refills and to send messages to your provider.
  • If you have a fever, cough, any respiratory symptoms or concern for COVID-19 exposure, please call (216) 368-2450 to receive instructions, 


We recognize the anxiety and emotional strain that these circumstances may place on students, as well as the disappointment and sadness that many feel. Our staff are committed to working with students to provide guidance and support around mental health needs. 

Students continue to have access to counselors through phone visits, and can: 

  • Connect with a counselor any time by calling (216) 368-5872, regardless of the state in which they are living, for in-the-moment support. If after hours, an on-call counselor will speak with them and they receive a follow-up contact the next business day. 
  • Continue ongoing counseling visits if they live in Ohio. Due to states' licensing laws, counselors cannot provide therapy across state lines. That said, university counselors can help students connect with counseling services within their own states. 

Care anytime: 

Please refer to our Prescription Refill page for information on how to request a refill. 

We appreciate your patience as we defer routine care for your health and safety at this time. We do not know when routine immunizations and titers will resume. If you need an essential immunization (such as tetanus), please call 216.368.2450.

The Student Medical Plan provides coverage throughout the United States. Students are encouraged to see Aetna network providers whether in the Cleveland area or elsewhere. A list of providers can by accessed on the Aetna Student Health website. Students may also print an ID card and review the Plan's coverage and exclusions on this site. Aetna's customer service representatives are available to answer any questions and can be reached at 877.850.6038. Visit the Medical Plan website for more FAQs

Additional Resources

Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet