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March 23 - Updates on COVID-19

Section 1


Confirmed cases of COVID-19 at UCI

Over the weekend, we were informed of two positive COVID-19 cases in the UCI community. One is a non-student resident of UCI’s campus family housing. The individual had returned from an international trip with symptoms and has been resting comfortably in good condition. We have coordinated with the Orange County Health Care Agency and been in touch with those who may have been exposed through contact.

The second positive case was in one of our healthcare workers, acquired from a community source. The healthcare worker was masked and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment at the time mild symptoms began and went home immediately. Locations involved have been notified so that those who may have had contact could begin self-monitoring and report any symptoms to Occupational Health for evaluation and testing.

In the instance of future positive COVID-19 cases in the UCI community, in addition to directly notifying anyone who may be exposed through contact, moving forward, university officials will notify the campus community through the COVID-19 Latest Updates emails and as aggregate information at UCI’s Coronavirus Information Hub.

UCI Health Launches Therapeutic Clinical Trial for COVID-19

UCI Health clinicians have launched a clinical trial to test the efficacy of the antiviral drug remdesivir as a potential therapy for COVID-19. Dr. Alpesh Amin and infectious disease specialist Lanny Hsieh, MD, are principal investigators at UCI and will oversee the randomized, placebo-controlled trial. It is important to know that this is for hospitalized patients with severe symptoms. UCI, along with UC San Diego and UC Davis, are designated sites for the first NAIAD-sponsored remdesivir clinical trials in California.

Campus Building Closures

Because campus operations have transitioned to remote instruction and telecommuting for many business functions, several UCI buildings have been closed until further notice. This does not mean that critical services and work have stopped. Departments and organizations will continue to carry out approved critical functions while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Those authorized to continue supporting our critical functions will continue to have access to applicable campus buildings. A current list of closed buildings is posted on UCI’s COVID-19 website and will be routinely updated. Enhanced custodial services continue for open buildings. For more information, click HERE.

Campus Parking Permit Clarification

UCI active parking permit holders received an email clarifying campus parking permit refunds. Parking permit holders do not need to do anything to pause payroll deduction for parking permits as it will be taken care of centrally. For questions about this process, please contact UCI’s Parking office at parking@uci.edu or 949-824-7275 (M-F from 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.). For more information, click HERE.

School of Biological Sciences Conducts COVID-19 Research

Experts in UCI’s School of Biological Sciences are conducting critical COVID-19 research. Top virologists are working with a national consortium of leading Scientists evaluating whether antibodies neutralizing viruses that are extracted from the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients can serve as an emergency treatment for the disease. They are also collaborating on cloning key elements of the COVID-19, SARS and MERS coronavirus strains to study how our bodies recognize and attach these viruses. Other BioSci researchers are investigating COVID-19’s impact on the nervous system.

Match Day was held virtually due to COVID-19

UCI’s Match Day for School of Medicine graduates took place virtually on Friday. Please enjoy this 3-minute video of the students finding out where they will serve as resident physicians after earning their M.D. in May. To see the video, click HERE.


Resources for Faculty

The Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation and the Office of Information Technology have partnered on a series of webinars to assist faculty with the transition to teaching remotely. In the webinars, faculty can learn essential skills, tools, and best practices to prepare remote lectures and set up their courses with a Canvas template. An online hands-on lab is available immediately following each webinar for faculty to ask questions and get help while setting up their course spaces concurrently. To see the schedule of webinars for the week of March 23, please click HERE. 

UCI Beall Applied Innovation Call to Action to Fight COVID-19

UCI’s Beall Applied Innovation has issued an invitation to the UCI community to share their ideas for the fight against COVID-19. Contact one of their experts below with your startup, product idea or resource need related to COVID19. Whether you’re an individual, team or company, Beall Applied Innovation can provide the contacts, resources, labs and guidance to help. Here is the contact info:

  • Corporate entities: Carolyn Stephens, Managing Director of Enterprise Collaborations,carolyn.stephens@uci.edu.
  • Individuals, Inventors and Entrepreneurs: Luis Vasquez, Associate Director, Venture Capital Collaborations, luis.vasquez@uci.edu.

Office of Research Provides Guidance on Research Animal Care

The Office of Research thanks the animal husbandry and veterinary staff, researchers, faculty, and everyone else for taking care of the animals and for doing their part in minimizing the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on our animal care and use program. Please continue to refer to the Research Continuity: Animal Care & Use website for guidance, status updates, and news related to COVID-19, the university’s research continuity plan, and animal research activities.


IRS Deadline Moved

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the administration has moved the IRS deadline for filing taxes from April 15 to July 15. For more information, click HERE.

Remote Patient Monitoring

The US Food and Drug Administration announced a temporary policy change to allow the expanded use of “FDA-cleared non-invasive, vital sign-measuring devices” so health care workers can monitor coronavirus patients remotely. More information can be found HERE.

US-Mexico-Canada Travel Restrictions

The United States is cooperating closely with Canada and Mexico to ensure that North America has a coordinated approach to combating the pandemic caused by the coronavirus. The Department of Homeland Security issued travel restrictions for the next 30 days between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, which can be found HERE.

Major Disaster Declaration in California

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Sunday that President Donald Trump has approved California’s request for a presidential Major Disaster Declaration to bolster California’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts. To read the full announcement, click HERE.

National and California Guard Support Enacted

On Sunday, Governor Newsom ordered the California National Guard to deploy to food banks across the state that are being overwhelmed by people who are suddenly out of work as the coronavirus crisis worsens. Demand for food has tripled in just the past few days as some people have found themselves suddenly unemployed and needing help.

President Trump on Sunday also outlined National Guard activations for New York, California and Washington. As part of the activations he instructed FEMA to provide eight large medical stations with 2,000 beds for California and supplies to be sent to New York and California within the next 48 hours. 

Orange County Statement on COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy for First Responders

The Orange County Public Health Officer recommends a more effective mitigation strategy to address the virus county-wide. The new approach shifts the focus from labor-intensive contact tracing to protecting the most vulnerable populations by minimizing their exposure to the virus. For the full statement, click HERE. 

UCI IN THE NEWS - COVID-19 Article List

Orange County Register, March 23, 2020
Coronavirus means a new way of daily living

California Patch, March 23, 2020 
UCI Starts Clinical Trial For Possible Coronavirus Drug

EdSurge, March 23, 2020
COVID-19’s Long-Term Impacts on Education in 2020 and Beyond

The National Interest, March 23, 2020 
How the Coronavirus Crisis Highlights the Need for Clean Water

Daily Pilot, March 23, 2020
UC Irvine in clinical trial to test drug’s potential to treat COVID-19

TIME/Center for Public Integrity, March 23, 2020
Coronavirus Spurs Vote-By-Mail Push, But Barriers Remain

Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2020
Cases of coronavirus infection in Orange County are up to 95

Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2020
California coronavirus death toll rises to 35, including five in L.A. County

The Washington Post, March 22, 2020 
In a pandemic, political polarization could kill people

Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2020
What you should know about wearing gloves and a mask if you can’t work from home

Orange County Register, March 21, 2020 
Person living in UC Irvine housing tests positive for coronavirus

Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2020
UC Irvine reports coronavirus case; Orange County total rises to 78

KTLA5, March 21, 2020 
Resident at UCI campus housing tests positive for COVID-19 after returning from international trip

Daily Pilot (KTLA), March 21, 2020
Resident at UCI campus housing tests positive for coronavirus after returning from international trip

CBS2, March 21, 2020 
Person Living In UC Irvine Graduate Housing Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2020 
Coronavirus drugs: Where we are and what we know

Inverse, March 21, 2020 
3 ways to regain a sense of control during the COVID-19 pandemic

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 21, 2020 
Is a shelter-in-place order next? It’s up to Texans to limit the spread of coronavirus

Orange County Register, March 21, 2020 
Kindness during coronavirus? Yes, and it’s contagious

Voice of OC, March 21, 2020 (Opinion)
(Opinion) Zuniga: How COVID-19 Confirms the Need for Housing Security in Orange County

PBS Newshour, March 20, 2020 
Student scientists, athletes and artists miss opportunities when learning moves online

The New Yorker, March 20, 2020 
Voting in the Time of the Coronavirus

The Nation, March 20, 2020 
How South Korea Triumphed, and the US Floundered, Over the Pandemic

UPI, March 20, 2020 
COVID-19 may take toll on mental health, experts say

Orange County Register, March 20, 2020 
As the pandemic spreads, here’s how to stay calm

OC Forum, March 19, 2020 (Video) 
Coronavirus: The OC response