Over the past several months, you have all seen or heard much about COVID-19 in California. We recognize that situations such as this can create fear and anxiety and our best way to address that is through communication, education and preparation. Below you will find information to answer the questions or concerns you might have. Additionally, the Orange County Public Healthcare Agency has created a Health Referral Line to take questions from the public about COVID-19. For inquiries, please call (800) 564-8448.

Hospital Appointments:

I think I have COVID-19, what are the symptoms? How do I know if I should go to the hospital?

COVID-19 is a new disease, one that has not been previously seen in humans. While we don’t know everything about COVID-19, there’s much we do know. First, the symptoms are generally more severe than typical respiratory infections.

The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. COVID-19 can also cause sore throat, diarrhea, muscle aches, loss of taste and smell.  If you think you’ve been exposed and develop these symptoms, call your doctor for medical advice.  The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you do not go to the emergency room or urgent care center if you have mild illness.  Instead, you should self-isolate at home.

Emergency warning signs requiring immediate medical attention are difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to wake up, or bluish lips.  If you have any of these symptoms go to the nearest emergency room or call 911. 

Is it safe to undergo surgery at Orange Coast Medical Center?

Yes, it is safe to have a surgery at the hospital. The safety of our patients, family and staff is of the utmost importance to us. Rest assured that we are following all infection control policies and the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in treating patients.

Is it safe to go to the hospital or clinic appointment if I am ill?

Yes, it is safe to visit the hospital or clinic appointment to receive medical care. Orange Coast Medical Center has implemented some additional visitor restrictions and safety measures during this time, to help diminish the spread of the virus and to keep our patients safe. 


What is the process to check in if I do have an appointment at the hospital?

Upon entry, patients will be screened and provided a mask. You will see hospital staff wearing a mask. Rest assured that your healthcare providers are in good health, as we require staff to stay home if they have symptoms or are ill.

How is Orange Coast Medical Center keeping patients, visitors and staff safe from Coronavirus?

We are screening patients as they come into our Emergency Department and suspected patients are immediately placed in isolation.  Every staff member that is screening and/or treating suspected patients are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, taking proactive steps to safeguard our staff, physicians, patients and community. Additionally, all patients undergoing surgery or procedures at the hospital are tested for COVID-19 prior to their surgery/procedure. 

I want to make a donation to the hospital. Are you accepting donations of supplies or meals?

Right now, health care workers at MemorialCare have the gear they need to protect themselves and others as they care for patients with COVID-19. But with the number of COVID-19 patients rising daily, and with outpouring of generosity from the community, MemorialCare is accepting help from employers and the community willing to donate supplies. This helps ensure supplies will be ready if needed in the coming days and weeks to protect staff and patients. Information on donations being accepted and where to drop them off can be found on our website at www.memorialcare.org/donations-needed.

Visiting the Hospital:

Are visitors allowed at the hospital or in the Emergency Department?

*Visitation guidelines may vary based on individual hospital or county circumstances.

Under normal circumstances, MemorialCare welcomes our patients’ visitors 24/7. We know in-person visits provide support and reassurance for patients and families alike. We pride ourselves on being a patient- and family-centered organization. The COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time for all of us. Times have changed quickly and dramatically due to the virus. As a patient-centered hospital, we must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this disease Below are temporary COVID-19 visiting guidelines for MemorialCare Hospitals. These are general guidelines; at any time, visitation may be restricted, or hours limited at the discretion of hospital leadership to ensure the safety of patients, staff, physicians, and visitors.

• End-of-Life: Any patient who is at the end of life may have two (2) visitors.
• Emergency Department: Pediatric patients may have one (1) visitor (same person), who must remain in the room for the duration of the visit. Adult patients may have one visitor (same person), who must remain in the room for the duration of the visit.
• Pediatric Outpatients: Patients in pediatric departments may have one (1) parent/legal guardian visit and may be increased to two (2) on approved case-by-case basis.
• Pediatric Inpatients: May have two (2) parent/legal guardian visit unless otherwise indicated by staff to ensure safety of patients, staff physicians and visitors. COVID positive parents are generally restricted in the PICU, exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.
• Neonatal Intensive Care Patients: Patients (neonates) may have one (1) parent/legal guardian visit. May be increased to two (2) on approved case-by -case basis. COVID positive parents are generally restricted in the NICU, exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis
• Maternity Patients: Laboring, Antepartum & Postpartum patients may have one (1) support person visit per hospital stay (same person). In addition to one (1) support person, Doulas may be permitted to be present on a case-by-case basis, if the doula complies with PPE and infection control guidelines. (Visitation may be expanded on a case-by-case basis for patients with prolonged hospitalizations)
• Adult Inpatients: Adult inpatients may have one visitor who must remain in the room for the duration of the visit. Should be limited to two (2) designated visitors one (1) at a time throughout the hospitalization.
• Surgical/Procedural Patients: Patients undergoing a surgery or procedure may have one (1) support person (same person). There will be no general visitation in the PACU, and Pre-op visits will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
• Patients who require special assistance: Altered, dependent and patients with cognitive impairments may have one (1) visitor. To obtain vital clinical history/information in crisis situations, one (1) visitor may be allowed to visit. Should be limited to two (2) designated visitors one (1) at a time throughout the hospitalization.
• Patients that are COVID+ or suspected COVID: No general visitation is allowed. Exceptions include End of Life, Maternity Partner in Care, Pediatric, NICU and on a case-by case basis.

Each visitor entering a MemorialCare facility must comply with the following:

• Wear a face mask (procedural mask required in patient areas) that covers the entire mouth and nose when entering the facility and must always wear a procedural mask while in patient care areas. The only exception is if you are eating or drinking; when your mask is off, you must stay at least 6 feet apart from other individuals. Visitors should use the same mask throughout the day unless discarding is indicated by isolation precautions.
• Complete screening each time entering the facility, and disclose, any symptoms of illness including fever, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, new loss of smell or taste, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Visitors with symptoms of illness, including fever, will not be permitted to visit. Once screened, the visitor must go directly to the assigned room of their family member.
• Practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet apart from others whenever possible.

• Visitors should wash their hands frequently, upon entering the room, leaving the room, before and after eating, and before and after using the restroom.

• Visitors are only permitted in hospital approved common areas.

• Meals: Visitors may bring a meal with them in an airtight container. We are unable to refrigerate visitors’ meal containers, so food should be able to remain at room temperature. If a visitor is unable to bring food with them, they may leave the campus for a meal. They will need to be rescreened on re-entry to the hospital.
• Remain in the patient’s room or designated waiting areas except when accompanying the patient for approved activities. Once the visitor leaves the patient room or waiting areas, they must immediately exit the facility.
Note: These guidelines are for the protection of patients, staff, and visitors. Visitation is a privilege. Anyone who does not follow this guidance is subject to removal from the facility with further visiting privileges rescinded. Thank you in advance for your full cooperation. Any exceptions to these guidelines must be approved by administration or designee prior to visitation.

Are Emergency Department patients screened for respiratory symptoms?

Emergency warning signs requiring immediate medical attention are difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to wake up, or bluish lips.  If you have any of these symptoms go to the nearest emergency room or call 911. 

If you are mildly ill and need to be seen, it is very important to call your healthcare provider before you come to the Emergency Department so that they can direct you to the most appropriate care, and take precautions to protect other patients, visitors, and employees. Tests are only available for patients who have been screened and are suspected of having the virus. For additional information about Coronavirus, and to discuss possible screening, please contact the Orange County Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448.

Is it safe to go to the Emergency Department if I don’t have respiratory symptoms?

Yes, all Emergency Department patients are screened for symptoms of respiratory illness at the entrance to the Emergency Department. Depending on the symptoms and assessment, the next steps for each patient are provided by an emergency department clinician.

We are sorry for the need to modify our visitation policy temporarily and look forward to returning to our customary policy when the risk of spreading COVID-19 is no longer a serious concern.

Do ALL visitors have to wear a mask?

Yes, all visitor exceptions will be masked. It is of the utmost importance to reduce the spread of the virus to our patients, your loved ones, that all visitors are masked for the entire visit.

Should visitors wear a mask when they are in the patient room?

Yes, regardless of the patient or visitor’s health status, visitors should wear a mask.

Should masks be worn the entire day or replaced every so often?

Replacing masks often is unnecessary. A visitor can use the same mask for the entire day.

What meal services are available to visitors?

Visitor trays are still available at this time. We offer meals between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Please ask your nurse for assistance with this.

Are visitors allowed to use the cafeteria during this time?

No. For the health and safety of your loved one, it’s important that you stay in room for your entire visit. Upon exiting the patient room, then you will need to exit the facility.

Can I refill my current prescription medication at MemorialCare Outpatient Pharmacies?

If you need a prescription, please contact our outpatient pharmacy. If you are out of refills, your pharmacy will contact your doctor for you. Ask your doctor and/or pharmacy if delivery is an option for you. Our pharmacy is open Monday - Sunday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. for walk-in service.

Continue to take all current medications unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Are MemorialCare classes, events and hospital tours being canceled?

We have canceled our in-person classes and events until further notice. To view a list of our virtual classes, please visit memorialcare.org/classes.

Am I still able to donate blood?

Yes, healthy individuals without signs of respiratory illness may donate blood. Please contact our Blood Donation Center at (949) 452-3158 for more information.

General Covid-19 Information:

Is there anything I can do to keep myself, my family and friends safe?

Like other illnesses, you can protect yourself from the novel coronavirus by maintaining the same practices that you use during flu season or whenever you encounter someone with respiratory illness.

  • Wear a mask when out in public
  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Cover your cough, use your elbows, not your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness
  • Stay at home if you are ill
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes
  • Stay informed – check the Center for Disease Control (CDC) site regularly for new updates

For additional information about Coronavirus, please visit the CDC website or contact the Orange County Public Health Referral line at 800.564.8448.

Does COVID-19 pose a risk to pregnant or breastfeeding women and their baby?

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. For the latest information visit the CDC’s Pregnancy and Breastfeeding page:  Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Covid-19 FAQ

MHA: Mental Health And COVID-19 – Information And Resources


Additional information about Coronavirus

Please visit the CDC website or contact the Orange County Public Health Referral line at (800) 564-8448.