Possible coronavirus case investigated at UC Irvine

A UC Irvine community member was tested for COVID-19 at the Student Health Center and the test was sent to the Orange County Health Care Agency, the university said late Tuesday afternoon.
(File Photo / Los Angeles Times)

A UC Irvine community member has been tested for the respiratory disease COVID-19, the university announced late Tuesday afternoon.

Dr. Albert Chang, medical director at the UCI Student Health Center, said in an email issued to the campus that the person was seen at the health center, “where their arrival was coordinated to avoid exposure to others and be safely tested for COVID-19.”

The test was sent to the Orange County Health Care Agency, and results were expected within 36 hours, Chang said. The person currently is in self-quarantine off campus, he said.

The email did not say when the test was administered, and university spokesman Tom Vasich said he could provide no further information.

A fifth person in Orange County has tested positive for coronavirus, the county Health Care Agency told the Board of Supervisors in an update Tuesday. Two of the five cases are confirmed, while three are “presumptive,” meaning officials are awaiting confirmation from federal authorities of local test results.

The university also announced that it would be aligning with its University of California sister campuses in precautionary measures against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. UCLA announced it would be canceling most in-person classes and moving into online instruction starting Wednesday.

UCI said final exams will be administered remotely and the university will be transitioning to have courses available online for the spring quarter. The university also has encouraged students living on campus to return to their off-campus residences for the rest of this quarter.

The campus is not closing and all offices will remain open, UCI said.

However, the university has canceled all gatherings where more than 100 people would be expected and has closed athletic events to the public.

In its latest update Tuesday on the virus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, the district made some key announcements, including that students or staff who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy or South Korea in the past 14 days “shall be excluded from school or work.”

“While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the UCI community at this time, those with symptoms, especially if they have visited high-risk areas, are encouraged to call their medical providers or the Student Health Center,” Chancellor Howard Gillman said in a statement.

Students, staff members, faculty and parents can call (949) 824-9918 for more information.

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