Person tested at UC Irvine doesn’t have COVID-19, university says

A UC Irvine community member tested negative for COVID-19 at the Student Health Center, the university said Tuesday night.
(File Photo / Los Angeles Times)

Results were negative for a UC Irvine community member who was tested for COVID-19 at the Student Health Center, the university said Tuesday night.

Dr. Albert Chang, medical director at the Student Health Center, said in an email to the campus that the Orange County Health Care Agency informed UCI that the person had tested negative.

“The Student Health Center has received a number of inquiries asking for information about the movement of the individual who was under investigation,” Chang said. “In this week’s case, the campus quickly identified where the [person] had been and notified those individuals who were in close proximity with them, including classmates.

“Should we have any further cases of [people under investigation], we will be practicing the same outreach measures to ensure those that are most likely to be at risk are aware of the details and counseled on proper actions to take in order to minimize spreading the virus responsible for COVID-19.”

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.

UC Irvine had announced earlier Tuesday that a person had been tested for the respiratory disease and that the test had been sent to the Health Care Agency. The person was in self-quarantine off campus, Chang said in an email, and the person’s arrival at the campus Student Health Center had been “coordinated to avoid exposure to others.”

Chang’s emails did not say when the test was administered or give any information about the person.

University spokesman Tom Vasich said the person was exposed to someone “back East,” raising concern about the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The university also announced Tuesday that it would be aligning with its University of California sister campuses in precautionary measures against the coronavirus.

UCI said final exams will be administered remotely and the university will transition to having 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.

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.”

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.

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

City News Service and Daily Pilot City Editor Rob Vardon contributed to this report.

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