COVID-19 (Coronavirus): FAQ

General COVID-19 FAQ

Cedars-Sinai continues to provide the highest level of quality care to our patients. We are currently scheduling patients for most procedures and surgeries. Our emergency room remains available 24/7, and our urgent care locations are open for all patients. 

Like much of our community, "business as usual" looks a little different today. We are taking extra precautions to keep our patients, visitors and employees safe in our facilities because the health and safety of our communities come first. Additionally, in-person visits have been and will continue to be supplemented by the use of phone and video appointments as medically appropriate. 

As the state of the global pandemic evolves, we will also evolve our policies, as well as the availability of certain services and procedures, to reflect the current needs of our community. If you have questions about your care or the availability of specific services, please call your doctor's office.

We continue to take COVID-19 seriously and know you will too. That is why we are taking extra precautions to keep our patients, visitors and employees safe in our facilities. 

In our hospitals, we will:

  • Screen and check the temperature of every person entering our facilities, including staff.
  • Follow universal masking precautions. Every physician and staff member will wear a mask at all times, using additional personal protective equipment (PPE) as needed. We ask that all patients also wear a mask. If you do not bring a mask, we will provide one upon your arrival.
  • Actively manage our supplies of masks and other PPE. 
  • Practice physical distancing in our waiting areas and clinical areas.
  • Maintain a thorough cleaning and disinfection plan for all common areas as well as clinical spaces.
  • Limit visitors to our facilities. Find details about our visitation policy here.
  • Designate specific inpatient rooms/clinical areas for COVID-19 patients, separating patients as appropriate. 

In our medical offices: 

  • Patients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival.
  • Patients with respiratory symptoms will be separated from other patients.
  • Patients will have their temperatures checked and be asked to wear masks.
  • Patients and staff will practice physical distancing in our waiting areas and clinical areas.
  • Visitors are limited at our facilities. Find details about our visitation policy here.
  • All staff will be equipped with appropriate protective equipment.
  • To learn more about how we are keeping our offices safe, click here.

Yes, Cedars-Sinai is accepting new patients and scheduling most procedures and surgeries. If you are in need of routine medical care or have a medical problem, call your doctor right away, just as you normally would. They will determine the appropriate next step—whether it's a phone or video appointment, an in-person visit or a trip to the ER or urgent care. Our physicians are available on My CS-Link™ to make an appointment. If you need to find a doctor, you can call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771). 

Cedars-Sinai is accepting new patients and scheduling most procedures and surgeries to ensure patients have access to our physicians and receive the care they need in a safe and timely manner. This decision is evaluated regularly and is subject to change as we monitor the impact of the pandemic in our community and follow the latest guidance from our clinical experts, the CDC and state and local public health officials.

If you develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19—including cold or flu-like symptoms—please follow these steps:

  • Start by avoiding contact with others.
  • Contact your primary care physician through My CS-Link messaging and describe your situation. If appropriate, your physician will place an order for you to get a COVID-19 test at the Cedars-Sinai Drive-Through Testing Clinic. You will receive instructions at the time.
  • Whether you are a new or existing patient, you can also schedule a virtual appointment with one of our healthcare experts using Video Visit Now.
  • If you don’t have a doctor, additional testing information can be found below.

Exposure is defined as being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more without masks. If you were exposed to somebody who has COVID-19, you may need to quarantine based on your vaccination status. Please follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to determine what you should do after a COVID-19 exposure

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) for Pfizer’s paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir, oral antiviral treatments of COVID-19. While we are still awaiting details about how the treatments will be supplied to hospitals and guidelines for administration, we anticipate initial quantities will be limited and available by prescription only to those at risk for severe illness. To learn more about paxlovid, please refer to this EUA. To learn more about molnupiravir, please refer to this EUA.

  • If your symptoms are manageable—low-grade fever, cough, chest congestion and mild fatigue—we recommend resting at home, drinking lots of water and taking fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen, and following isolation precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • If you develop worsening symptoms such as labored breathing, persistent high fever or severe weakness, you should go to the ER right away.

If you believe you may have contracted COVID-19, please contact your primary care provider, who can provide next steps and determine if you should be tested. If you don't have a primary care provider, please visit one of our urgent care centers. You also can call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771) to help you find a doctor.

Cedars-Sinai  provides COVID-19 testing for patients who:

  • Experience symptoms of COVID-19, including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Are not currently experiencing symptoms (asymptomatic), but have had clear exposure to a confirmed or probable COVID-19 person 2-14 days prior to the test being performed 
    • Exposure is defined as unprotected (no mask or face shield) close contact (less than 6 feet apart) with a confirmed COVID-19 person for 15 minutes or more
    • This includes those who work in high-risk settings (e.g. congregate living environments) or have limited ability to maintain physical distancing at work (e.g. first responders, food service workers, transportation operators)
  • Are preparing for a scheduled medical procedure at Cedars-Sinai

COVID-19 testing at Cedars-Sinai is by appointment only at one of our urgent care locations

Cedars-Sinai is also participating in COVID-19 antibody testing, in close cooperation with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, for those who fit testing criteria.

To learn more about COVID-19 tests, click here.

Our staff is screened and have their temperatures checked every day before entering our facilities. Our Employee Health team is working closely with our team members across our facilities to test staff when necessary. 

As a healthcare institution and one of the largest employers in L.A. County, our decisions continue to be guided by the latest science. This is evidenced by the high number of vaccination rates among our employees and physicians, and we continue to strongly encourage vaccination for all members of our organization. Additionally, regardless of vaccination status, we continue to adhere to strict pandemic safety protocols, including health screenings, masking requirements, physical distancing and diligent hand hygiene. The people of Cedars-Sinai remain committed to their patients, and we are proud to serve as role models in protecting the community we serve.

To help decrease the spread of COVID-19, we have instituted a universal masking policy requiring all employees, patients and visitors to wear a mask at all times while on campus/clinics.  

Doctors, nurses and support staff will wear PPE in accordance with our safety procedures, which align with the recommendations from the CDC. Patients and visitors at all Cedars-Sinai facilities will be asked to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth. If you do not have a mask, we will provide one upon your arrival.

Valet parking is still available at South Tower, Taper, Cancer Center, Emergency Department, Street South, Taper Imaging, The Beverly Building / P6, AHSP / P4, 310 Building and 8900 Beverly.

We continue to use phone and video appointments when medically appropriate, but some illnesses are best handled in the office or hospital. Please call your doctor's office when in need of care and they will determine the appropriate next step.

Please see our full visitor policy as current restrictions vary for inpatient and outpatient situations. Visitors are not allowed for patients with or suspected of having COVID-19, unless a clinical team has determined the patient is considered end of life.

Serology testing (antibody testing for COVID-19) is available at Cedars-Sinai for those who fit testing criteria. We are not routinely offering antibody testing for low-risk patients or members of the general public with no suspicion of recent infection.

It is important to understand that antibody testing does not diagnose COVID-19 but can determine if a patient may have antibodies against the virus. Even if you have antibodies, it is not known if you are protected from infection or for how long you will have immunity.

Cedars-Sinai researchers are at the forefront of ongoing research about serology testing, including a serology study of potential immune response in healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19.

You should go to the ER right away if you are experiencing severe or life-threatening symptoms of any kind, including trouble breathing, persistent pain or chest pressure, sudden confusion, sharp decline of energy, bluish lips or face, a heart attack, stroke, coughing up or vomiting blood, a serious burn, a cut with profuse bleeding or if a child under 8 weeks old has a fever.

Our urgent care centers are available for more mild issues such as rash, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, a cut that may require stitches or a sprain. Use Save My Spot to minimize your wait and help us anticipate and prepare for your arrival.

You can read more about the care provided in our ER and urgent care locations here. If you suspect you have COVID-19, contact your primary care physician by phone or through My CS-Link.

It is vital that everyone continues to wear a mask in healthcare settings or in crowded, public transportation areas such as when traveling by airplanes, buses or trains. Relaxed masking guidelines are not meant to be applied in healthcare settings, where extra precautions are necessary to protect vulnerable patient populations.

Cedars-Sinai continues to follow federal, state and county guidelines. Therefore, at this time, our pandemic safety policies remain unchanged: All patients and visitors must continue to wear masks, physically distance and practice regular hand hygiene regardless of vaccination status. 

Our patients and visitors should be reminded that Cedars-Sinai provides care to very vulnerable patients—some of whom have not been vaccinated. These patients would be at high risk if they  contracted the virus that causes COVID-19. 

You can read additional local guidance on masking from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

COVID-19 Testing in Urgent Care FAQ

Visit our urgent care webpage for more information about locations offering COVID-19 testing.

Diagnostic COVID-19 testing is also widely available throughout the County of Los Angeles, whether or not you have symptoms or have been exposed. Refer to LA County’s COVID-19 testing website for locations in your region. Many pharmacies also offer testing, as well as other care facilities. An internet search for "COVID-19 testing near me" may also help you find a convenient option.

We perform a COVID-19 test using "PCR" (polymerase chain reaction) technology. The test uses a PCR nasopharyngeal swab and is generally the most accurate way to test for the coronavirus. We use these swabs to look for the genetic material of the coronavirus. A long, thin swab that looks like a Q-tip is inserted into both nostrils for 5-10 seconds. It will feel uncomfortable but should not be painful. Stay still and don’t move while the swab is inserted. The swab absorbs the secretions (fluid) from your nose.

Risks are slight but include:

  • Possible discomfort or other complications that can happen during sample set
  • Possible false negative test result

Potential benefits are:

  • Knowing the results of this test may help limit the spread of COVID-19 to your family, friends and others in your area.

Testing is available to adults and children ages 2 years and older for whom testing is recommended. Minors under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

We accept most insurance plans. If you do not have insurance, your COVID-19 test may be eligible for billing under the federal and state COVID-19 relief programs for uninsured patients. However, you will be charged $150 for the COVID-19 test at the time of service if:

  • You have an insurance plan not accepted by Cedars-Sinai
  • You choose not to bill your insurance plan

Please note that the $150 charge does not include other services that may be rendered during your visit.

We ask you to sign up for My CS-Link so you can get your results electronically as soon as they are available. If your result is positive, you will also receive your results by phone call from one of our providers to review your results and discuss safety protocols for isolating. You should get the test results in about 48-72 hours. Visit or call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771) to create your My CS-Link account.

We offer COVID-19 testing to people who are planning a trip and need to show proof that they are not infected. Most airlines require passengers to show proof of a negative test result within 72 hours of their flight departure. Contact your airline for specific requirements before boarding and upon arrival.  

We have several safety measures in place to ensure the health and safety of our patients and their families. These include: 

  • screening patients, visitors and staff upon arrival 
  • requiring everyone to sanitize their hands and wear a mask 
  • putting patients with COVID-19 symptoms in separate areas
  • arranging our spaces to allow for physical distancing 
  • thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all clinical spaces and common areas 
  • limiting the number of visitors allowed

Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines , if you test positive you should isolate for 5 days. If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house, but must continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days.

Here's how to calculate the 5-day isolation schedule:

  • If you test positive and you have symptoms, Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.
  • If you test positive but you do not have symptoms, Day 1 is the first full day after your positive test. 
  • If you develop symptoms after testing positive, your 10-day isolation period starts over: Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.

Here's how to isolate:

  • Stay home.
  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels and kitchen utensils.
  • Wear a mask if you have to be around other people.