UCLA Health initiates universal COVID-19 testing for all incoming surgical, procedure patients, and emergency room admissions

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UCLA Health has initiated COVID-19 testing for all patients coming to the system's hospitals and some outpatient clinics for scheduled surgeries, procedures and emergency department treatment, a change from previous practice of testing only those exhibiting symptoms of the disease and referred by their primary care physicians.

Universal testing began April 10 for all emergency department admissions and April 13 for pre-operative and pre-procedure cases that are medically necessary.

For all emergency department admissions, patients with a high probability of being infected will be masked and sent to cohort units, and medical staff will be required to wear Level 1 personal protective equipment (PPE) until test results become available. Patients in this group include those with fever; cough; lymphopenia, a reduction of some types of white blood cells; or need increasing amounts of oxygen.

Other emergency department patients who have less risk of carrying the virus that is sweeping the globe will be masked and sent to an appropriate unit until their test results are known.

Level 1 PPE includes safety glasses, surgical masks, gloves and optional gown.

Patients undergoing surgery or procedures at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Health - Santa Monica Medical Center, and clinics in Manhattan Beach, Santa Clarita and Thousand Oaks will be tested one or two days prior to their procedures. These include all procedures requiring Procedure and Treatment Unit involvement or post-procedure recovery in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). For non-surgical cases, the tests are intended only for potential aerosol-generating procedures involving interventional radiology, cardiac catheterizations, endoscopy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).