Prevention, testing and treatment

Background about the novel coronavirus, tips for prevention and treatments, and information about the UCLA Health response, including how to get tested at UCLA Health facilities.

What is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The name “COVID-19” is an abbreviation of “coronavirus disease 2019.”


  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing.
  • Other symptoms can include fatigue, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, chills, muscle pain, headache and a new loss of taste or smell.
  • For a complete list of symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 symptoms page.


  • The CDC advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus. To learn more about face coverings, how to make them and the importance of washing them, visit the CDC’s face coverings page.
  • Public health officials recommend washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer as frequently as possible. To read more about hand-washing, soap and hand sanitizer, click here.
  • You should avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and avoid contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, stay home and do not travel or report to work.
  • Visit the CDC website to learn more about how to protect yourself and others.


Required asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for fall 2020: Testing is required for all students living in university housing or participating in on-site or hybrid classes, as well as for faculty, staff, or teaching assistants involved in teaching on site. Tests will be provided at no cost, and contact tracing protocols will be in place when anyone tests positive.

The following students and staff will be tested on their initial arrival or return to UCLA:

  • Undergraduates living on campus
  • Students living in off-campus, university-owned housing
  • Students living in fraternities and sororities
  • Students living off campus but participating in on-campus classes
  • Students working as resident advisers and UCLA Housing staff and living on campus
  • Faculty teaching on-campus courses or teaching remotely from UCLA facilities

The following groups will be tested a second time, seven days after the initial test:

  • Undergraduates living on campus
  • Students living in off-campus, university-owned housing
  • Students living in fraternities and sororities
  • Students working as resident advisers and UCLA Housing staff and living on campus

Those being tested are expected to follow these infection-control measures:

  • Isolate after the first test, until receiving a negative result (usually within 48 hours)
  • Sequester between the time of the first negative result and the second negative result

Should either test come back positive, isolation and contact tracing protocols will be implemented immediately.

For more information, visit UCLA’s Asymptomatic Testing Protocol page. Further details on testing dates and protocols are also available on the Ashe Center site and UCLA Housing’s move-in page.

Students required to test must schedule an appointment. They can do so by clicking the “Appointments” link from the Ashe Center patient portal (sign-in required).

Ongoing campus COVID-19 testing: Once a low-cost, high-quality lab test has been identified, testing will be conducted at regular intervals throughout the fall term for students who are living, learning or working on campus or are involved in other on-campus activities, as well as for employees working on campus or in other UCLA facilities. Depending on the availability of testing, all UCLA affiliates entering campus may also be tested regularly throughout the term.

General COVID-19 testing: UCLA Health offers many testing locations throughout the region, including drive-up testing sites. Prior to receiving a test, individuals must have an appointment and an order from a primary care physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, please call 310-861-6654. If you’re not a UCLA Health patient, Los Angeles County has expanded its test capabilities. Click here for more information on COVID-19 testing.

All patients being admitted via UCLA Health emergency departments will be tested for COVID-19, as will all patients undergoing surgery or procedures at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; and many other UCLA Health clinical facilities.

In the event of a positive test: Students and faculty tested through the Ashe Center will be notified by the center of a positive result. Isolation and contact tracing protocols will be implemented immediately.

In addition, any UCLA community member who develops symptoms or receives a positive test result for COVID-19 is obligated to self-isolate and to contact the the Ashe Center COVID-19 Hotline at 310-206-6217 (for students) or the UCLA Infectious Disease Hotline at 310-267-3300 (for faculty, staff and volunteers).

If a student, staff or faculty member is confirmed to have COVID-19, medical professionals at UCLA or the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will investigate to determine who is considered to have been in “close contact” with that person, contact them and ask them to self-isolate and schedule a test, if appropriate. Relevant deans, vice provosts, vice chancellors, directors and department chairs will be notified of any positive case within their areas of responsibility.

For detailed information, see UCLA’s standard notification procedures page.


  • The experimental drug remdesivir was approved to treat hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 by the FDA, which issued an emergency-use authorization. This is the only approved treatment to date. Remdesivir hasn’t undergone the same level of rigorous review as it would in a more typical FDA-approval process.
  • There is no vaccine for COVID-19 yet; however, several vaccine candidates are in development.
  • Although there has been a lot of discussion in the news about hydroxychloroquine, a malaria medicine that is being studied for the treatment of COVID-19, the drug has not been shown to be safe and effective. The FDA issued a statement cautioning against use of this drug for COVID-19 outside a hospital setting.

Recommended COVID-19 resources

UCLA Covid experts

For journalists

UCLA faculty members are available for interviews with news media on a wide range of topics related to COVID-19, including public health and epidemiology, virology and vaccines, mental health, education, law, politics and the economy.

UCLA COVID-19 experts UCLA COVID-19 news stories