Health Professionals

COVID-19 cases continue to be identified in Orange County. Any person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should be tested as soon as symptoms develop. For the latest surveillance data, visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.

COVID-19 Variants

The B1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom and associated with increased transmission and disease severity, has been identified in Southern California, including Orange County, for several weeks. Based on limited surveillance, this variant has been identified relatively rarely amongst strains genotyped in OC, but CDC modeling indicates that this strain may become predominant here and in the United States in the coming months. In the coming weeks and months, additional variants of concern are likely to be identified in Orange County. OCHCA would like to work with providers to assure prompt identification of suspect and confirmed variant cases. Health care providers are requested to promptly report and submit nasopharyngeal specimens to OCHCA for possible whole genome sequencing from any individuals with SARS-CoV-2 virus infection who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Develop infection between 15 and 90 days after completing a vaccination series (i.e., two doses for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, one dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). OCHCA particularly requests reporting of any patients who are hospitalized with post-vaccination infection;
  • Have possible reinfection, with recurrence of symptoms and positive molecular testing at least 90 days after initial infection;
  • Have recent international travel or exposure to persons with recent international travel.

Additional recommendations for evaluation of suspect and confirmed variant cases can be found here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have been recommended for use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).  OCHCA is working with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and community partners to plan the allocation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine Quick Reference Guide for Providers

How the County’s Vaccine Recommendations Are Developed

The CDC’s Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP) has developed a framework which provides a phased approach for distribution of vaccine while the supply is limited.  CDPH has established more specific priority tiers. Finally, the OCHCA has convened a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Advisory Group to provide additional local guidance as needed to ensure equitable access to vaccination. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation

Initial vaccine allocations were distributed to local hospitals and hospital systems to vaccinate HCWs. CVS and Walgreens have also been vaccinating skilled nursing facility residents and staff under the CDC Pharmacy Plan.  More recently, OCHCA has established Points of Dispensing (PODs) at multiple sites in Orange County.  Vaccination is offered at these sites by appointment only to at-risk populations. 

Populations currently recommended to be vaccinated in Orange County can be found here.

Providers Wishing to Vaccinate Their Patients

Providers can sign up on myCAvax at https://www.calvax.org/ to vaccinate their staff and patients. Due to limited vaccine supply, there will likely be a delay before providers who sign up are allocated vaccine.

COVID-19 Treatment Guidance

For a review of COVID-19 treatment and vaccine guidance, including the importance of avoiding unnecessary therapies, please see the webinar recorded January 22, 2021: “COVID Treatment – First Do No Harm” - PDF | Video


General Testing Recommendations

Any person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should be tested as soon as symptoms develop. Providers are particularly recommended to emphasize testing of high priority groups as defined by the CDC. This includes:

  • Hospitalized patients
  • Symptomatic healthcare workers
  • Symptomatic residents and staff of congregate living facilities including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living sites, and correctional facilities.

Summary of OCHCA Testing Guidance for Providers

Additional testing guidance resources:

Sign Up to Receive Provider Advisories

  • Health professionals who wish to receive OC Health Care Agency (HCA) provider advisories can register HERE.
  • HCA can assist with testing these highest risk groups if other laboratory testing options are not available. Please call (714) 834-8180 for more information.

California Crisis Care Continuum Guidelines for Health Care Facilities

With unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, the California Department of Public Health has outlined resources and expectations for all health facilities.  These guidelines can be found HERE.

Provider Reporting

Patients with positive results from either PCR or antigen testing are reportable to public health. Laboratories are to report both PCR and antigen positive results. Providers need to report within one business day all cases with positive antigen tests that will not be reported by laboratories.

Providers should report hospitalized patients, deaths, and any suspect or confirmed cases who are homeless or living in congregate living settings within one business day to (714) 834-8180. Clinical laboratories are routinely reporting COVID-19 positive test results to HCA.