COVID-19 (Coronavirus): FAQ

Services During Covid-19

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.

Yes, Cedars-Sinai is scheduling appointments for new and existing patients for any type of care.

If you are an existing Cedars-Sinai patient in need of routine medical care or have a medical problem, contact your doctor’s office via My CS-Link message or by phone. 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 schedule or request an appointment

If you are a new patient looking to establish care at Cedars-Sinai and need to find a doctor, you can call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771). 

Procedures and surgeries are being scheduled to ensure patients are cared for in a safe and timely manner. Surgery schedules are evaluated regularly and are subject to change as we monitor the impact of the pandemic in our community and follow the latest guidance from our clinical experts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health officials.

We continue to use phone and video appointments when medically appropriate, but some illnesses are best handled in the office or hospital. Please contact your doctor's office when in need of care and they will determine whether a video visit is appropriate. New or existing patients can also schedule a virtual appointment with one of our healthcare experts using Video Visit Now.

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.

Safety Precautions at Cedars-Sinai Locations

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 in any inpatient or outpatient setting, unless a clinical team has determined the patient is considered end of life.

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 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. Our patients, families and visitors must properly wear a hospital-issued surgical mask, or their own provided it is well-fitted, not cloth, does not have external vents and is not damaged or visibly soiled.
  • 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.

In our medical offices: 

  • Patients will have their temperature checked and be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival.
  • Patients will be asked to wear a Cedars-Sinai issued mask, or their own provided it is well-fitted, not cloth, does not have external vents and is not damaged or visibly soiled.
  • Patients and staff will practice physical distancing in our waiting areas and clinical areas.
  • All staff will be equipped with appropriate protective equipment.
  • To learn more about how we are keeping our offices safe, click here.

It is vital that everyone continues to wear a mask in healthcare settings. Relaxed masking guidelines are not permitted 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, families and visitors must properly wear a hospital-issued surgical mask, or their own provided it is well-fitted, not cloth, does not have external vents and is not damaged or visibly soiled.

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.

Our staff members are screened 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. Cedars-Sinai complies with all state-mandated testing requirements for healthcare workers.

As a healthcare institution and one of the largest employers in L.A. County, our decisions continue to be guided by the latest science and recommendations from federal, state, county and public health officials. We follow all mandates for vaccination and boosters of healthcare personnel. 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 at any Cedars-Sinai location.

Doctors, nurses and support staff will wear PPE in accordance with our safety procedures, which align with the recommendations from the CDC. Our patients, families and visitors must properly wear a hospital-issued surgical mask, or their own provided it is well-fitted, not cloth, does not have external vents and is not damaged or visibly soiled.

Relaxed masking guidelines are not permitted to be applied in healthcare settings, where extra precautions are necessary to protect vulnerable patient populations. For the safety of our patients and our staff, we expect all patients and visitors to respectfully comply with our masking requirements when in our facilities, regardless of vaccination or COVID-19 testing status.

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

Exposure and Symptom Management

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

  1. Start by avoiding contact with others.
  2. 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 CDC.
  3. 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.
  4. Whether you are a new or existing patient, you can also schedule a video visit with one of our healthcare experts using Video Visit Now.
  5. If you don’t have a doctor, additional testing information can be found below. 
  6. If you do not have a Cedars-Sinai physician, call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771) and our team will help you find a doctor.
  7. If you develop worsening symptoms such as labored breathing, persistent high fever or severe weakness, you should go to the ER right away.

CDC quarantine guidance depends on whether you are up to date in your vaccinations or not and whether you’ve had a recent COVID-19 illness. Please refer to the CDC quarantine and isolation guidance for details on what to do.

If someone in your household develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, here are some tips regarding precautions you should take.

You should go to the emergency room or call 911 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 sore throat, runny nose, cough, rash, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, a cut that may require stitches or a sprain. 

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.

Testing

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.

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. You will receive instructions for pre-procedure testing at the time of scheduling your procedure.

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.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed and need to be tested, you may:

  • Contact your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms and possible exposures. If appropriate, your physician may place an order for a COVID-19 test at the Cedars-Sinai drive-through testing clinic.
  • Visit one of our Cedars-Sinai urgent care locations to be seen and tested by an urgent care provider. Please note that COVID-19 testing is offered as part of a visit with an urgent care provider. 

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 L.A. 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.

Cedars-Sinai urgent care locations 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 to urgent care.

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 cedars-sinai.org/mycslink or call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771) to create your My CS-Link account.

Per CDC guidelines, if you test positive, your isolation period will depend on your personal situation. For more information regarding how to calculate your isolation period, or how to isolate, visit the CDC website.

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.

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 and should not be performed for patients with symptoms. Serology testing can determine if a patient may have antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19, however, even if antibodies are detected, it is not guaranteed that you are protected from any future COVID-19 exposure, nor is it known 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.

Vaccines, Boosters and Treatments

Your best protection is to get vaccinated and get your booster once eligible. You can consult the chart on this page (be sure to scroll down the page) to learn more about vaccine eligibility. Here are three ways to schedule an appointment:

  • Visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website and follow instructions. Select Cedars-Sinai as the preferred vaccination site. You must schedule an appointment to get vaccinated at the Cedars-Sinai drive-through clinic.
  • If you have a My CS-Link account, go to "Visits" on the top menu, click "Schedule an Appointment" and then click "COVID-19 Vaccine Dose 1."
  • Call the My CS-Link helpline at 1-855-427-5465 and ask to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

In addition to monoclonal antibody treatment and remdesivir, the oral antivirals Paxlovid™ and molnupiravir are now available for the treatment of COVID-19. However, these therapies are available by prescription only to those at risk for severe illness.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and are at risk for severe illness, make an appointment with your physician and be sure to let them know about any medications you are on. Please do not seek monoclonal antibody treatment or remdesivir through the Emergency Department. Talk to your doctor to learn more or refer to the National Institutes of Health website. To learn more about paxlovid, please refer to this EUA. To learn more about molnupiravir, please refer to this EUA.