Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Latest UHS Health Advisory

University Health Services along with the CDC, state and local public health departments, and health units throughout the UC system continue to closely monitor the outbreak of respiratory disease caused by the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19).  

Situation Update 

Cases continue to rise locally, in California and nationwide. Many counties across the state, including Alameda County, have been placed on the California State Data Monitoring List due to sustained increases in COVID-19 cases and not meeting statewide benchmarks. For these  counties, there may be more widespread transmission of COVID-19r. Science suggests that for indoor operations the odds of an infected person transmitting the virus are dramatically higher compared to an open-air environment. Thus business within these counties are requiredto close indoor operations to reduce the amount of closed-space mixing of populations beyond households where adherence to physical distancing with face coverings is difficult.  

Here on campus over the last few weeks we also saw an increase in cases that stemmed largely from a small outbreak connected to recent parties with secondary spread within households and within other smaller gatherings. Generally, these infections were related to social events where basic safety measures such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings, limiting event size, and gathering outside were not followed.  The good news: this confirms that these safety measures work!

Following standard protocols, Berkeley Public Health and University Health Services have been busy with contact tracing, reaching those individuals who had close contact with the students who tested positive, advising regarding isolation and quarantine requirements within households, and encouraging and arranging testing.  We have seen a very positive reaction to these efforts and have had close collaboration with the students involved to help control further spread of the virus. With fingers crossed, these efforts appear to have paid off, with a gentle decrease in cases over the last few days (NO cases would actually be surprising given the infectiousness of this virus, and could be an indicator of poor outreach!).

In the early stages of the pandemic, mostly older people with chronic conditions were getting infected at a higher rate and were significantly sicker than younger patients.  With the uptick of recent cases around the country, we are now seeing the infection rates of younger people climb and thus far, we have been very fortunate to have no-one become seriously ill.  Unfortunately tragedy is inevitable if numbers continue to increase and behavior doesn’t change, whether it is one of our students or of a contact within our community.  

All of this is a powerful reminder that SARS-CoV-2, the virus th COVID-19. can spread very easily if basic precautions are not followed. Wearing a mask,gathering only outside with people outside your household, washing your hands frequently, and practicing physical distancing remain vital to slowing the spread.  This risk scale can show you how various activities increase your chances of exposure. 

Testing Reminder

UHS continues to do PCR (swab) COVID-19 testing for UCB students, faculty, or staff who fall into one of the following categories.  Results are generally available in 3-4 days.

  1. Close contact with a confirmed case (less than 15 minutes, less than 6 feet apart, and only if between 3-10 days since exposure)

  2. Campus program requirements, per prior agreement

  3. Symptoms concerning for COVID-19, which may include NEW:

    • 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

    • Diarrhea 

See our testing page for details and all testing requires a clinician’s orders.  If you don’t fall into one of the categories of people we are testing at UHS, you can explore access to testing in the community.

 

University Health Services Updates

University Health Services remains open: please see our UHS services page for hours and information on accessing care.  For all medical concerns, we are asking that you please call us (510) 643-7197. This will allow us to assess your needs and best direct you. In some cases, we will be able to manage your concerns over the phone through provider phone/video visits.

Highlighted Resources

Advice

Medical Advice:

  • Students - Contact UHS advice line at (510) 643-7197
  • Faculty & Staff - Contact your medical provider, if you have symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, or had close sustained contact with a known positive case of COVID-19.

Non-Medical Advice Questions:

To reach UHS for non-medical advice related COVID-19 questions email telltang@berkeley.edu 

External Resources