COVID-19 Coronavirus Update

UCI Health infectious disease experts are assisting with statewide and national efforts to track the outbreak and contain the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.

Our experts are in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA).

Our primary objective at UCI Health is to ensure the safety of patients and employees while delivering world-class care at our hospital and community locations.

Facts about COVID-19

  • The vast majority of people who get it will have mild to moderate symptoms and do not need hospitalization.
  • Children are unlikely to get ill from COVID-19, but they can bring the illness home to others who are immunocompromised.
  • COVID-19 is passed between people thorough coughing and sneezing or through the hands when they come into contact with a sick person's secretions.

How you can help prevent it

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Not all hand sanitizers contain enough alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and keep at least three feet between yourself and others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home and stay away from others when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you're healthy, you don't need a mask

Masks should be reserved for those who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others and for medical personnel.

 Call ahead if you have symptoms

 If you or someone close to you has a fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact your doctors' office in advance. They will direct you on next steps.

 24/7 UCI Health OnCall

We have a new telemedicine service: 24/7 UCI Health OnCall. OnCall allows you to seek care and evaluation from the comfort of your own home. This can be used as an option if you want to avoid coming to one of our locations. OnCall is not meant for COVID-19 screening. 

UC Experts Take on COVID-19

The University of California has been on the front lines in the fight against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, since the earliest indications of its emergence in China.

From top-flight medical care to groundbreaking research, UC’s scientists and physicians across its 10 campuses and five academic medical centers are part of the global effort to treat, understand and ultimately defeat the virus.

COVID-19 has challenged health professionals worldwide since it first appeared in early December, 2019.

University officials continue to coordinate closely with state and federal authorities to ensure the health and safety of UC students, faculty and staff. At the same time, the spread of the virus has imbued the university’s mission of education, research and public service with new urgency.

Read more about the UC response ›

Updated Visitor Policy

UCI Health has implemented a “no visitor” policy for inpatient units at Douglas Hospital and University Tower, Bldg. 1A.

The following exceptions may apply:

  • Families may visit patients who are receiving end-of-life care during their last hours.
  • Labor and delivery patients may have one spouse/significant other accompany them during their stay – no siblings allowed.
  • Parents with an infant in the neonatal intensive care unit will be allowed to be with their infant, one parent at a time.
  • For all other emergent services or procedures, only one support person is allowed per patient.

In the emergency department, an exception may be made on a case-by-case basis for emergent trauma activations.

Exceptions to the policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Visitation at other locations

The no visitors policy described above will be applicable to:

  • H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center
  • Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UCI Medical Center pavilions
  • UCI Health Neuropsychiatric Center
  • Adult Rehabilitation Center
  • The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute
  • All community locations

Visitor screening and safety 

Visitors who meet one of the exceptions above are still subject to screening. UCI Health will not allow visitors if they:

  • Have signs and symptoms of illness, including: cough, runny nose, sneezing, fever, sore throat
  • Have returned from any of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) high-risk countries in the past 14 days
  • Have been exposed to a known COVID-19 case
  • Are children ages 15 and under

In all cases, additional visitors should be asked to wait away from the medical center in order to comply with county and state public health orders.

Information for Patients

Is UCI Health prepared?

Yes, we are prepared. As a hospital that regularly treats patients with infectious diseases, our infection-prevention protocols are rigorous. Our team of infectious disease specialists are leaders in their field, highly trained and in continuous contact with local, state and federal public health officials. We are monitoring novel coronavirus developments closely.

Is it safe to keep my appointment?

Yes. Patients face no additional risk in our hospitals or clinics. Unless you are told otherwise, keep your current appointments.

Should I wear a face mask?

Unless you have symptoms of an airborne infectious disease or are in prolonged close contact with someone who is contagious, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend use of a face mask by members of the general public.

Information for Employees

Information for Blood Donors

The UCI Health Blood Donor Center is sensitive to concerns related to COVID-19. We are therefore reaching out to our prospective blood and platelet donors.

We continue our mission of providing blood components to patients of UCI Health while maintaining safety for both patients and donors. Every day, patients rely on your continued support as a blood or platelet donor at our donor centers in Orange and Irvine.

To minimize potential COVID-19 spread, we ask that if you’ve had a recent cold or flu, to please refrain from attempting to donate until four symptom-free days have elapsed. If you’re returning from mainland China, Hong Kong, Europe, Iran, Macau or South Korea please self-defer until 28 full days have elapsed following your return to the U.S.

We have intensified our intervals for routine cleaning and disinfecting of common areas throughout the donor center and our staff remains diligent about handwashing and using sanitizer after every donor encounter.

On behalf of the patients we serve, and with our deepest appreciation, we thank you for your continued support of our shared mission.

UCI Health Experts in the News

Related Links & Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Chinese authorities identified the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which has resulted in more than 80,000 confirmed cases in China. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the coronavirus to address any concerns our community may have.

What is the 2019 novel coronavirus?

In December 2019, a new virus was found to have caused an outbreak of a cold-like illness in China. The outbreak has been linked to an animal and seafood market in Wuhan City and has spread to other areas in China. It also has been found in people who have traveled to and from China or who had direct contact with someone who was ill with the COVID-19. The majority of cases have been in China, but the virus has been found in returning travelers from other countries, including the United States and, specifically, Orange and Los Angeles counties.

How likely am I to get the 2019 novel coronavirus compared to a regular cold?

Your risk for exposure to the common cold or the flu is far greater than to this new coronavirus. It is important to recognize that you can’t get the 2019 novel coronavirus without having traveled to an area where it is actively spreading or without an exposure to someone with the virus.

How do I know if I’ve been exposed to the 2019 novel coronavirus?

Again, your risk for exposure to the common cold or the flu is far greater than to this new coronavirus. You are only considered exposed if you have:

  • Traveled recently to an area with an ongoing spread of COVID-19 OR
  • Had direct contact with an ill person under investigation for 2019 novel coronavirus in the past 14 days

What are the symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus?

Symptoms can range from a very mild cold/flu-like illness to severe lung infection (e.g., pneumonia). Severe symptoms are more likely in those with underlying medical conditions, such as chronic heart or lung disease, or conditions that cause weakened immune systems (such as patients with cancer requiring chemotherapy).

The symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus often include:

  • Fever (temperature higher than 99 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

How does 2019 novel coronavirus spread?

This virus likely spread initially from animals to humans, but appears able to be spread from person-to-person in those who have had close and direct contact with people who are sick with the virus (e.g., coughing, sneezing), similar to how the flu and the common cold can spread.

What can I do to protect myself?

Currently, there is no vaccine for 2019 novel coronavirus.

Follow these basic steps that can go a long way in protecting you and others from virus infections:

  • Clean your hands frequently (waterless alcohol hand rub or handwashing)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

How do I donate medical supplies to UCI Health?

If you are interested in donating medical supplies and equipment, please complete our COVID-19 Medical Supply Questionnaire for Suppliers and Donors. Our safety and infection control experts will conduct a thorough review of any proposed donation and solicitation items.

Where can I get more information?

Information about the 2019 novel coronavirus is changing as we continue to learn more about the outbreak. For the most up to date information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.