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Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

April 22, 2020
Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to allow hospitals and health systems to resume delayed medical care for Californians – such as heart valve replacements, angioplasty and tumor removals, and key preventive care services, such as colonoscopies – which were deferred as the state’s health care delivery systems prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients. The decision was based on progress toward preparing California hospitals and health systems for a surge in COVID-19 patients – one of the six critical indicators the governor unveiled last week as part of the state’s framework for gradually modifying California’s stay-at-home order.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced that hospitals and health systems may resume delayed medical care for Californians – including surgical and clinic-based procedures, and key preventive care services, such as colonoscopies – which were deferred as the state’s health care delivery systems prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients.

This decision was based on progress toward preparing California hospitals and health systems for a surge in COVID-19 patients – one of the six critical indicators the governor unveiled last week as part of the state’s framework for gradually modifying California’s stay-at-home order.

All University of California medical centers have initiated activities to safely increase the volume of essential services.

These activities are informed by and consistent with guidance issued on April 27, 2020 by the California Department of Public Health, and informed by the principles and considerations identified in the Joint Statement of the American Hospital Association, American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, and Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, as well as those issued by the California Medical Association and others.


Your health comes first. Rely on UCI Health for your healthcare needs.
Experts across the county agree that you must not delay in getting your healthcare needs met.

Is it safe to keep my appointment?
Yes. Patients face no additional risk for COVID-19 at our medical center in Orange or other clinical locations. Timely healthcare checks and follow-up visits keep you stronger in the fight against the COVID-19. At UCI Health, we will safely address your healthcare needs.

Is UCI Health prepared?
Yes. UCI medical center took the COVID-19 pandemic incredibly seriously. The medical center was the first in Orange County to have onsite testing for COVID-19 and was the first in Southern California to offer the successful Remdesivir clinical trial to COVID-19 patients. As a university health system 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 continue to monitoring novel coronavirus developments closely.

How are you ensuring my safety?
All healthcare workers at UCI Health are required to mask.
All patients arriving at our locations and their visitors are required to mask. Please bring your own mask to your appointment so that we may reserve masks for our healthcare team.
All hospitalized patients at UCI medical center have been tested for COVID-19.
All healthcare providers are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and fever every day prior to working.
All of our staff are following physical distancing guidelines at all of our locations and our waiting rooms have signage in place to avoid crowding.
All of our healthcare sites undergo frequent and meticulous deep cleaning.
Under our “Code Clean” program, all staff members participate in a coordinated disinfection of all high-touch surfaces in their work area at regular intervals throughout the day.

What can I expect at my appointment or procedure?
If you have a procedure scheduled, you will likely receive a COVID-19 test. The scheduler for your procedure will provide you more details. If you have any concerns about this, you may consult with your physician.
After your appointment you will receive an “after visit summary” with information about COVID-19. It will provide details and instructions on where to retrieve your test results, if one was ordered for you.
UCI Health outpatient pharmacies are maintaining normal business hours of 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday. During the Covid-19 crisis, patients have the option to have medications, not requiring special handling, to be delivered via USPS or FedEx. The fee for USPS is $4 and FedEx is $7.50. All specialty medications will continue to be shipped at no charge.

We do not ship any controlled substances at this time. Patients can request their provider electronically send their prescriptions to UCI Health Outpatient Pharmacy to avoid the need to drop off paper prescriptions.

How can I get care in convenient manner?
Your convenience and peace of mind matter now more than ever.
UCI Health now offers telemedicine visits with your physician and care team when you don’t require an in-person visit.
We encourage you to sign up for UCI Health MyChart, a convenient and secure way to manage your healthcare online. Through MyChart you can request appointments, communicate with your provider, request prescription renewals, view test results, access medical records, pay bills and more. For more information, visit
COVID testing to verify a current infection is available by appointment. You may call our nurse triage line at 714-456-7002. You should also consult with your physician if you have any symptoms.
Serology testing may be ordered by your physician.

Why is UCI Health the best place to receive care?
When tests for COVID-19 were in short supply nationwide, our microbiology experts labored night and day to develop tests we could produce locally to serve our patients. Our leading virology experts are hard at work studying the novel coronavirus to develop novel treatments — and potentially a vaccine — in collaboration with colleagues across the University of California and leading national experts.
We have been consistently ranked as one of America’s Top Hospitals in U.S. News & World Report
For 12 years in a row, UCI Health has received an ‘A’ safety score from the Leapfrog Group
We were the first academic health system in world to receive honors from the Patient Safety Movement Foundation
We are a Meritorious Hospital according to ACS/NSQIP surgical safety ratings

What if I want to wait until August or September for my procedure?
If you have questions or concerns, we can set up a call or video visit with your physician.
Your physician can answer your questions and together you can decide when the best time is for you to come in.

COVID-19 Update from UCI Health

Gloved hands holding a spray bottle and cloth wash a window

The health and safety of our patients and staff are our top priorities. While the COVID‐19 pandemic has  created numerous challenges and changes in the way we provide care, our mission to Discover, Teach, and Heal remains at the forefront of our patient-care philosophy.

We encourage you to read our COVID-19 update to learn more about the practical steps we are taking to ensure the health and safety of every person who visits our facilities.

Creating a Culture of Safety During COVID-19

The UCI Health Patient Safety & Quality Team has developed and implemented the following safety measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Daily staff screening: All staff members undergo a daily health screening before reporting to work.
  • Procedural patient screening: All surgical and procedural patients will be screened for COVID‐19 before starting their procedures. Mandatory nasopharyngeal swab testing must be completed for all asymptomatic patients 48 hours prior to their procedures. The order for testing will be placed by the surgeon or physician performing the procedure. For procedures that are performed on Monday, screenings will occur on Sunday, 24 hours prior to the procedure.
  • “Code Clean” routine cleanings: High-touch surfaces will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected twice daily, using hospital-approved disinfectant. High-touch surfaces include frequently-touched areas such as keyboards, office phones, desks, counters, chairs, light switches, door handles and equipment used between multiple patients. Personal items included in Code Clean protocols include stethoscopes, badges, cell phones, pagers, i-pads, and other electronic devices.
  • Speak up for each other: We’re all in this together. We encourage you to speak up when you see an opportunity to create a safer environment. This can include suggestions for how to properly wear personal protective equipment (PPE), or reminders about hand hygiene or equipment cleaning.
  • Environmental Infection Protection (EIP) Team: The Environmental Infection Protection team has worked diligently to address questions about environmental transmission and safe PPE practices. During this time, the EIP team has conducted conference calls/town halls, and performed numerous rounds in COVID-19 cohorted units, as well as non‐COVID units.
  • Face Shields: Implementation of use of face shields developed through a partnership with UCI Beall Applied Innovation.

Universal Masking Policy

In accordance with CDC guidelines, UCI Health has instituted a mandatory universal masking policy. Every person entering UCI Health premises, including healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors, should wear a mask at all times, regardless of symptoms.

All staff and healthcare providers are required to wear their own community cloth face masks when entering UCI Health premises. Staff whose job duties do not require patient care masks will wear community cloth masks while on UCI Health premises. Direct patient care providers must change from a community cloth mask to a UCI Health patient care regular mask when performing patient care duties.

  • Non-direct patient care providers: Community cloth masks will be worn on arriving and leaving UCI Health, and continuously through the day.
  • Direct patient care providers: Community cloth masks will be worn on arriving and leaving UCI Health. These masks will also be worn in non-patient care areas, during administrative time, and during breaks. Direct patient care providers may wear a UCI Health patient care mask continuously in patient care areas or during patient care duties.

Additional Safety Measures

Universal masking prevents transmission through coughing, sneezing, or loud voices/singing from someone who is ill. It also prevents droplets of an ill person from reaching your nose or mouth.

However, universal masking does not replace the need for:

  • Social distancing: Maintain a distance of 6 feet from others whenever possible.
  • Hand hygiene: Wash your hands before and after touching or readjusting your mask.
  • Clean environment: Items and surfaces must be cleaned in case of contamination from prior use.

Contact Us Today

Thank you for your continued trust in UCI Plastic Surgery. Together, we can ensure you receive the important care you need in a safe, healthy, and positive environment.

Please call 714-456-3077 to schedule a consultation at our Orange or Tustin location, or call 949-999-2411 for a visit to our Costa Mesa location.

3rd Annual Cleft/Craniofacial Family Event: The Luau!

This July, the UCI Department of Plastic Surgery celebrated Cleft/Craniofacial Awareness Month with a Hawaiian Luau at the Santa Ana Zoo! In our 3rd year, over 500 of our CHOC/UCI family joined together for delicious food and fun games like island face painting, Hula dancing, kids vs volunteers tug-of-war, a 3-legged grass skirt race, and many more.

Kids and parents lined up to take aim at their plastic surgeons, nurses, and clinic staff – all sacrificed again and again in our first (surely annual) Dunk Tank Revenge! Once again, the annual Talent Show amazed us all and dozens of families intricately illustrated their stories in our Journey Poster Fair.

While their friends celebrate the end of school with summer sun, so many of our children spend summer undergoing surgery and recoveries that often limit sun, pool, food, and activity. That’s why it’s especially essential to join together one hot July afternoon to celebrate all our families and children with cleft and craniofacial differences.