UCI Forward

UCI Forward is our commitment to the well-being of our community as we ramp up campus operations. Working together, each of us doing our part, we can move UCI Forward.

February 12 - Updates on COVID-19

Section 1

Valentines day graphic

Happy Valentine’s Day, Anteaters.


See you on Tuesday

As UCI observes the Presidents’ Day holiday on Monday, Feb. 15, the next issue of Latest Updates will return on Tuesday, the 16th. Enjoy the three-day weekend.

Vaccine info

There are many questions about how to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, Orange County is in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution for certain population groups. For UCI employees who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, there is information on the process for scheduling an appointment on the UCI Forward site. For general information about the COVID-19 vaccine, UCI Health has a robust vaccine FAQ.

New campus case*

One employee reported testing positive yesterday. The current active case count is 20.

COVID-19 chatline

UCI’s Program in Public Health offers a COVID-19 chatline for questions about COVID-19. The chatline is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. PDT. Visit the website to learn more and connect with a live operator.


About yesterday’s double-masking item...

snug masking

Clarification: In Thursday’s COVID-19 updates newsletter, an item headlined “Mastering the art of double-masking” included a bullet point stating that UCI Health’s Dr. Susan Huang endorses snugger-fitting masks. She does recommend snug masks, but is not endorsing double-masking. She further explains that “the CDC study did not demonstrate that double-masking is needed. What it shows is that the greatest protection from spread between two people who are already 6 feet apart is first achieved by ensuring both people are masked, and then further improved by ensuring that the masks fit snugly around the nose, cheeks and chin. That can be done by picking a snug mask or by knotting the straps as shown below. If the best way to keep the mask snug is to put another mask on top, then that can be done, but the protection is not from double material, but from the snugness of fit. Double masking can make it harder to breathe and, if not snug, can inadvertently increase touching of the face with unclean hands due to slippage of both masks.”

Upcoming events


What Hollywood gets wrong (and right!) about protecting the Earth from asteroids

In the 1998 movie, “Armageddon,” an asteroid the width of Texas is about to hit Earth. The heroes who stop it in just the nick of time are a group of orange-suited Americans, all men. Life isn’t always like the movies. Not that an asteroid couldn’t slam into Earth, mind you. Asteroids — mostly tiny ones — pass by our planet virtually every second. But the people charged with stopping the big ones aren’t reaching for their spacesuits with mere hours to spare.

Friday Fun Fact

Thirty-eight percent of UC undergraduate degree recipients go on to earn a graduate degree, the majority of which are masters-level degrees.


This section curates noteworthy coronavirus news, trends and opinions. No endorsement by UCI is implied. Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and OC Register ;for students, faculty and staff.

New CDC guidelines: if vaccinated, no quarantine needed if exposed to COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control issued new guidelines regarding COVID-19 exposure for those who have completed the currently available two-dose regimen of the COVID-19 vaccine. A vaccinated person exposed to a person with COVID-19 positivity or active infection can forego quarantine if they meet the certain criteria.

Doctors warn that COVID will become endemic and people need to learn to live with it

More and more physicians and public health officials are warning that even with the mass rollout of safe and effective vaccines, COVID may permanently establish itself.

Montana becomes third state to lift mask mandate

Montana’s statewide mask mandate will be lifted Friday with COVID-19 cases there trending downward. Iowa and North Dakota have lifted their mask mandates.

Othena now available in Spanish and Vietnamese

Othena is the app used by the County of Orange to manage the vaccination process and connect individuals with vaccine distributors. Spanish and Vietnamese language versions of Othena.com are now available by clicking on the “English” drop down at the top of the page and then selecting “Español” or “Tiếng Việt.”

Coronavirus variant first seen in L.A. County has spread to at least 19 states

A coronavirus variant first detected in Los Angeles County last year has spread to at least 19 states and is now showing up in 44% of new cases tested in Southern California, Cedars-Sinai researchers announced Thursday. The variant, dubbed CAL.20C, has spread quickly throughout the region in recent months and researchers believe travelers from California carried it to other states and abroad to six other countries, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mishap: fitness instructors get vaccinated as ‘healthcare workers’

The California Department of Public Health created a loophole for fitness instructors across the state to qualify as healthcare workers and get vaccinated in Tier 1-A.

CVS to begin COVID-19 vaccine appointments throughout California

CVS Health will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines at dozens of CVS Pharmacy locations across California starting Friday. Those who are currently eligible to get the vaccine must make an appointment. No walk-ins will be accepted.

Rite Aid to begin COVID-19 vaccinations in California

Rite Aid will start vaccinating people against the coronavirus at some of its stores in California and four other states on Friday. More than half of the drugstore’s locations are each slated to receive 100 doses per week under the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.


Amid the heartbreaking loss of life and economic hardship wrought by the coronavirus, we recognize the need for stories of kindness, hope, courage and humor.

COVID-defying nun toasts 117th birthday with wine and prayer

A French nun who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person celebrated her 117th birthday in style on Thursday, with multiple treats and well-wishes, cards and flowers to fete her exceptional longevity through two world wars and a recent coronavirus infection.


If you have a shoutout, or if you’d like to share what you’ve been up to during the pandemic, send photos and/or words about your activities, workstation, volunteering, etc., to marketing@uci.edu or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.

cactus love

UCI photographer Steve Zylius captured this image from the ecological preserve, but we could not decide on a caption. Which do you prefer?

“Love can be prickly,” or “Let’s stick together.”

Happy socially distanced Valentine’s Day.


* Potential workplace exposure: UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.