COVID-19 and UCLA Health Preparedness
UCLA Health is committed to the safety of patients and employees while maintaining high-quality care at our hospitals in Westwood and Santa Monica and community clinics across the region.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our infectious disease team and leaders have been in regular contact with federal, state and local public health and government officials and coordinating closely across all clinical and supports units, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and other University of California medical centers.
As a leading academic health system that regularly treats patients with infectious diseases and other complex illnesses, we are uniquely positioned to support the fight against COVID-19. We have the medical expertise, modern facilities, innovative research and dedicated physicians, nurses and staff to meet this challenge. Leveraging resources and expertise allows us to deliver on our mission of patient care, research medical education and community service.
Data about COVID-19 testing volume and results and patients in our hospitals is updated daily and available here.
Here are some of the steps UCLA Health is taking:
We are preparing for increased volumes of COVID-19 patients by identifying adequate amounts of hospital beds, supplies, equipment and personnel.
- We have postponed surgeries when safe to do so. Limiting procedures that are not medically necessary frees up beds, enhances capacity and conserves personal protective equipment.
- We have erected tents outside emergency departments to evaluate patients with potential symptoms. Separating those with symptoms from the general patient population protects patients and clinical teams and minimizes opportunities for exposure and transmission.
- A multidisciplinary team of clinicians and hospital leadership is revising protocols and developing detailed plans to coordinate care and operations in a changing clinical environment.
- Should they be needed, we are identifying additional beds outside the hospital setting for patients who are less sick in order to reserve hospital beds for the sickest patients.
We have expanded testing capacity by:
- Developing our own in-house test to supplement the work of government and commercial laboratories.
- Establishing locations and throughout the region where patients with a doctor’s order can have samples collected for testing.
Current capacity of our-in house lab is to conduct about 500 tests per day, and we are working to increase that. We follow county Department of Public Health guidance regarding testing criteria. Patients are encouraged to contact their primary care physician or call 1-800-825-2631.
- We are converting as many physician visits as possible to telehealth (video) – not just primary care visits but across all specialties. This allows us to serve our patients and the community while minimizing opportunities for exposure and decreasing the likelihood of transmission.
- In the first week of April, we performed approximately 13,000 telehealth visits, up from about 100 per week before the pandemic. Some appointments warrant in-person visits.
- We are reaching out to all patients to ensure all patients – especially those with chronic conditions – to ensure all have an opportunity to receive a medical consultation.
- Child life specialists are using the telehealth to support hospitalized pediatric patients.
TeIehealth information for patients is here.
Universal Testing and Masking
Testing and screening for symptoms reduces opportunities for exposure and decreases the likelihood of transmission.
- UCLA Health has initiated universal COVID-19 testing for incoming surgical, procedure patients and emergency room admissions.
- We are moving toward universal testing of all admitted patients.
- All visitors, vendors and staff are having their temperature taken for signs of fever and are being screened for other symptoms before being allowed inside our hospitals and 200 Medical Plaza in Westwood.
- Universal masking – All those completing the screening procedure are provided a mask for use that day in clinical care facilities. Managers provide masks to employees working at off-site clinics. This is being implemented as a pilot made possible and contingent in part on PPE production, procurement and management efforts described below.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
UCLA Health follows county and federal guidelines for use of PPE. While we have adequate supplies to safely provide care, it is important to remain vigilant stewards of masks and other PPE. We are:
- Closely monitoring inventory and usage rates while working directly with state and federal officials to procure additional supplies.
- Leveraging academic innovation to develop alternative sources and prolong PPE life.
- Assembling face shields created by bioengineers with UCLA’s engineering and dentistry schools using 3D printers.
- Scaling up the use of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation to disinfect N95 masks for safe reuse, following FDA and CDC guidelines.
- UCLA Health Pursues Creative Solutions to Conserve PPE
UCLA Heath is heartened by so many in the community showing their support for health care workers via UCLA Health's #TeamLA campaign.
Clinical Trials and Research
A multi-disciplinary team with UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine is working to prioritize research.
- Clinical trial tests anti-viral drug, other therapies
- Web app enlists public's help in slowing the spread
- Clinical trial tests convalescent plasma as a potential COVID-19 treatment
- Other COVID-19 clinical trials
- National registry helps doctors understand risks posed to pregnant women, newborns
To maintain a safe environment, UCLA Health has temporarily restricted visitor access to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Health - Santa Monica Medical Center, and Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA. For details, go here.
For restrictions in labor and delivery units and at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospitals, go here.
Those in an outpatient environment are allowed one visitor.
Staffing levels are continually monitored. We are:
- Supplementing and redeploying staff where necessary and appropriate to ensure the maintenance of safe, high-quality care.
- Discussing with Gov. Newsom’s administration the process of evaluating availability and experience of workers from the California Health Corps.
- Providing overnight accommodations and shower facilities for those concerned about returning home to their families.
- Promoting wellness resources to support physicians, nurses and staff.
UCLA Health is grateful for the dedication, courage and resilience of physicians, nurses and so many others collaborating to protect safety while delivering compassionate care to our patients.