COVID-19 Campus Health Update
March 10, 2020
UCI has learned that we now have a member of our campus community who is considered a person under investigation (PUI) for potentially testing positive for COVID-19. This individual was seen by the Student Health Center, where their arrival was coordinated to avoid exposure to others and where they could be safely tested for COVID-19. The test was sent to the Orange County Health Care Agency, and we should know the results within 36 hours. This individual is now under self-quarantine off campus until we learn the results.
As a continued commitment to the health of our campus, we have been screening, testing and following up on all cases that meet criteria. We currently have several cases that we are following very closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency, and we will be sure to inform our community of any updates and changes.
In addition to partnering with the County for COVID-19 preparedness and testing, UCI has contracted with Quest for increased testing ability. Through this level of increased testing, we will be able to expand the number of tests we will be able to perform, which will help us manage our resources.
While we have increased capability for testing, please remember there are still specific criteria we consider prior to testing for COVID-19. Students who feel that they have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call the Student Health Center/or your physician’s office for further guidance. Staff and faculty should contact their primary care provider or call ahead to an urgent care center before arriving in person.
If you feel ill or think that you qualify for testing, contact your provider BEFORE going into the clinic. And please consider using Live Health Online, a newly offered USHIP covered service that connects you via a TELE-MEDICINE visit with a provider online, from the convenience of your home, 24 hours a day. See the details here:https://shc.uci.edu/services/livehealth-online
Also note that, effective March 9, 2020, UC SHIP will reduce the student cost share to $0 for all medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 in a manner consistent with directives issued last week by the CA Department of Managed Care and the CA Department of Insurance. Cost sharing includes, but is not limited to, copays, deductibles or coinsurance. Medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 may include hospital (including emergency department), urgent care visits, provider office visits and/or telehealth encounters (e.g., LiveHealth Online) where the purpose of the visit is to be screened and/or tested for COVID-19.
For students who qualify based on the criteria above, and if those students pay out of pocket costs related to COVID-19 services to hospitals, urgent care centers, LiveHealth Online or other providers, Anthem will reimburse the student (i.e., copay, coinsurance). The student can reach out to Anthem directly or they may contact the Student Health Center Billing or Insurance Departments for assistance in obtaining reimbursement.
For students who have health insurance coverage other than UC SHIP, we encourage you to contact your insurance carrier directly for information related to your benefits and out-of-pocket costs associated with COVID-19 services. While LiveHealth Online is available to all registered students, those students who have health insurance other than UC SHIP may have a tele-health option available to them through their own health insurance plan.
We continue to encourage students to be healthy and to refrain from attending classes if they are unwell. And if you are feeling ill, you may contact your professors directly, or you may complete an Intake Form at the Disability Services Center to request accommodations for any clinically approved extended absences. https://dsc.uci.edu/register/
We realize this is a stressful time and many of you are feeling anxious. Everyone should continue to follow the guidance for regular handwashing with soap, getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, coughing/sneezing into your elbow, along with adhering to the new guidance for social distancing – or keeping several feet of space between yourself and those around you in public, when feasible.
Please do not hesitate to call the Student Health Center or your physician if you would like to arrange a medical visit, and explore the Live Health Online option for a virtual visit. And please refer to the COVID-19 webpage for UCI information and updates.
We will send out another campus update when test results are received.
Albert S. Chang, MD, MPH
Medical Director, UCI Student Health Center