UCLA Health announced Monday it has initiated COVID-19 testing for all patients coming to its hospitals and some outpatient clinics for scheduled surgeries, procedures and emergency department treatment, a change from its previous practice of testing only those exhibiting symptoms of the disease and referred by their primary care physicians.
Universal testing began Friday for all emergency department admissions and Monday for pre-operative and pre-procedure cases that are medically necessary.
"For all emergency department admissions, patients with a high probability of being infected will be masked and sent to cohort units, and medical staff will be required to wear Level 1 personal protective equipment until test results become available. Patients in this group include those with fever; cough; lymphopenia, a reduction of some types of white blood cells; and those who need increasing amounts of oxygen,'' according to a UCLA Health statement.
Level 1 personal protective equipment includes safety glasses, surgical masks and gloves; gowns are optional.
Other emergency department patients who have less risk of carrying the virus will be masked and sent to an appropriate unit until their test results are known, according to UCLA Health.
Patients undergoing surgery or procedures at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica and clinics in Manhattan Beach, Santa Clarita and Thousand Oaks will be tested one or two days prior to undergoing any procedure requiring procedure and treatment unit involvement or post-procedure recovery in the post-anesthesia care unit.
For non-surgical cases, the tests "are intended only for potential aerosol-generating procedures involving interventional radiology, cardiac catheterizations, endoscopy and electroconvulsive therapy," according to UCLA Health.