What You Should Know About COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

Your Safety is Our Top Priority

We know you may be concerned about news of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and its implications for the health of you and your loved ones. Your safety and well-being are our top priority.

We want to reassure you that you are under no additional exposure risk by visiting any of our hospitals or clinics. Patients should feel confident in making and keeping their appointments, and using UC San Diego Health services as usual.

  • A number of Americans have been repatriated from Wuhan, China, and are spending 14 days in federal quarantine at MCAS Miramar. These American citizens have been through much turmoil, and we are happy to alleviate some of their challenges.
  • UC San Diego Health is working with San Diego Public Health and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officers to receive any individuals with symptoms to rule out the novel coronavirus infection. These patients are under strict quarantine and will remain in isolation until CDC makes a determination.
  • Our decision to accept these patients reflects our commitment to the community. As the region’s only academic medical center, UC San Diego Health specializes in the care of adults with complex illnesses, including infectious diseases that are deadlier and more virulent than COVID-19.
  • We are taking all necessary measures and precautions to minimize any potential exposures as we care for both potential and confirmed COVID-19 cases. We are confident in our expertise and ability to provide effective care safely, without significant risk to patients, visitors or health care workers.

Video: Infectious Disease Expert Shares Facts About Coronavirus


Frank Myers, director of infection prevention at UC San Diego Health, answers FAQs about novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and describes symptoms, risks, prevention measures and other important facts.

Please know that:

  • The health risks to the general public remain low.
  • Coronaviruses can cause the common cold and pneumonia. Most people infected with the novel coronavirus have mild cold symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Novel Coronavirus

Can I get the coronavirus at the hospital?

  • No. A person needs to be in close proximity (within 6–8 feet) to a patient with COVID-19 to be infected. There have been no cases of patients getting the virus from other patients while in a health care facility in the United States.

What is UC San Diego Health doing to protect patients?

  • We have instituted standard infectious disease protocols, as well as additional measures, to prevent the potential spread of the virus. Any health care providers who will have contact with the patients being tested are trained to use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including gowns, gloves, fit-tested high-filtration masks and face shields or goggles.
  • We are also screening patients who have traveled from China and who might have symptoms of the virus. It is important to remember that we specialize in the care of patients with complex illnesses more virulent and deadlier than the current coronavirus.

How concerned should I be about the coronavirus? What if I have an upcoming appointment at UC San Diego Health?

  • For San Diegans, the seasonal flu remains a more significant health risk. All people in the U.S. who have not traveled to China or been in contact with someone with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in the last 14 days are at very low risk of infection.
  • Patients should feel confident in making and keeping their appointments and using UC San Diego Health services as usual.

Can a person test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?

Using the CDC-developed diagnostic test, a negative result means that COVID-19 was not found in the person’s sample. In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus will not be detected. If the virus is not detected, it also means that person was not capable of spreading the virus at that time.

A negative test result for a sample collected while a person has symptoms likely means that COVID-19 is not causing their current illness.

Is there anything I can do to protect myself?

It is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis, and we need to remember to avoid making assumptions about others' perceived symptoms or any characteristics of identity. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent the novel coronavirus infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Here are the current CDC recommendations to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Take everyday preventive actions for respiratory infections, such as avoiding close contact with people, staying home when sick, and washing hands often.
  • Do not travel to China.

Should I wear a mask?

The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks for the general U.S. public to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including the novel coronavirus.

The best way to protect your health is by practicing preventive measures listed above and getting a flu shot to help prevent illness and symptoms similar to the novel coronavirus.

What can I do if I have more concerns?

Concerned patients and family members can call our Patient Experience team at 619-543-5678.

You can also find more information about the virus from these websites.