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: 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, which are administered through the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, will be provided at no cost, and contact tracing protocols will be in place when anyone tests positive.

The following groups are being tested weekly:

  • 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
  • UCLA Housing professional staff who have regular interaction with students

Effective Oct. 26, the following individuals will also be tested on a regular schedule, most of them weekly:

  • Any member of the campus community who is living, learning or working on campus and is present on campus at least once a week. (This does not include employees of the UCLA Health System.)

Details of the requirements and procedures can be found in the revised Community Screening Protocol. Key elements of the testing include:

  • Individuals can choose between the Covel Grand Horizon Ballroom on the Hill and Collins Court in the John Wooden Recreation Center for their test
  • Registration, scheduling and test results via mobile device
  • A self-administered mid-nasal swab test that is simple to perform
  • Results delivered in 24 to 48 hours via secure link

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

A list of answers to testing FAQs is available on the Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center website. Read the letter on asymptomatic testing from campus leadership.

Voluntary asymptomatic COVID-19 testing and mobile unit: Students who live near campus but are not participating in on-campus classes or work are highly encouraged to participate in weekly testing.

Beginning in November, UCLA will operate a mobile testing unit so that those Bruins who live in the vicinity of campus will have the opportunity to access free, convenient testing without having to come to campus. The mobile unit will also be available at a central campus location until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Details, including a full schedule and list of locations, are available on the Ashe Center website.

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.
  • Individuals who have been diagnosed with or who are likely to have COVID-19 are required to self-isolate per the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health emergency isolation order and to contact the UCLA COVID call center at 310-267-3300 (for faculty, staff and volunteers) or email (for non-affiliates who have been on campus).
  • If the UCLA COVID Call Center is closed:
    1. Don’t go to work or report to campus until you have received instruction on the return to work date from the UCLA COVID Call Center.
    2. Call and leave a message at the call center (310-267-3300) so that a nurse can contact you.
    3. Notify your supervisor that you are not cleared for work. 
    4. Contact your primary care physician for advice, or go to urgent care or the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center emergency department if symptoms require urgent medical care.
  • If a student, staff or faculty member is confirmed to have COVID-19, UCLA’s Exposure Management Team will investigate to determine who is considered a “close contact” to that person, contact them and ask them to self-isolate and schedule a test, if appropriate. Individuals who have been in close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with a person who was diagnosed or was likely to have COVID-19 will be required to self-quarantine per the L.A. County Department of Public Health emergency quarantine order.
  • 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