Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
COVID-19, Spring 2024
With students, faculty, and staff back on campus for the Spring semester, it’s important we all continue to use the preventive tools we have practiced during the last few years to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and other transmissible diseases. The key, as always, is staying healthy through good food, sleep, stress reduction, and exercise; practicing good self-care and hand/respiratory hygiene; getting any recommended vaccines; and seeking medical care in a timely manner if you are at high risk for severe disease or develop more severe symptoms.
We are now at a different point in time with reduced impacts from COVID-19 compared to prior years, due to broad immunity from vaccination and/or natural infection, and readily available treatments for infected people. Public health officials across the state have undertaken a multi-pronged approach to mitigating COVID-19 disease that includes encouraging vaccination, offering and promoting testing and treatment, and promoting practices like mask-wearing. Priorities for intervention are now focused on protecting those most at risk for serious illness while reducing social disruption that is disproportionate to recommendations for the prevention of other endemic respiratory viral infections.
How do we know how we are doing?
We are unable to track cases across campus as closely as we did in previous years; public health jurisdictions are no longer routinely doing contact investigations in most settings, including ours, and many cases are not being reported and tracked, due in part to the move to at-home antigen testing.
Instead, we keep in close communication with our local public health authority in tracking community epidemiology and adjusting our response accordingly. Wastewater data currently shows SARS-CoV-2 increasing locally and nationally, with a slight increase in hospitalization levels, although both are still much lower than prior surges. This is not unexpected for a respiratory virus, given summer travel and possible waning immunity from prior infections and/or vaccines.
If you think you have been exposed or are a close contact, you can take an over-the-counter rapid antigen test 3-5 days after exposure. Symptomatic students should wear a mask, get tested, and stay home. See the UHS testing page for more information.
Stay well, Bears!
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
- Early symptoms may be nonspecific, such as fever, body aches or chills, scratchy throat, and or/mild stomach upset (diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, loss of smell).
- A few days later a dry cough may emerge, which can worsen to start including shortness of breath over several days.
- Upper respiratory symptoms like nasal congestion or sneezing are less common.
- Coronavirus can also be asymptomatic, so it is important to get a test if you think you have had an exposure.
- CDC COVID-19 Symptoms
When to get help
- People who have symptoms should stay home, wear a mask, and get tested.
- People who are high risk for severe COVID (e.g. immunocompromised, chronic heart/lung disease), or have more serious symptoms like a fever (>100.3F) for two or more days, persistent cough or shortness of breath should contact their healthcare provider for advice.
- Students can call the UHS Nurse Advice Line at (510) 643-7197 for further guidance.
- People with severe symptoms such as struggling to breathe should call 911.
There are currently no masking requirements on campus.
Regardless of COVID-19 case rates, the CDC recommends masking:
- If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a cough, runny nose, or sore throat
- In crowded indoor settings, such as in airplanes, trains, and buses
- In public areas around people who are older or have medical conditions that put them at increased risk for severe COVID-19
- For 10 days after having a significant exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- If you have tested positive. See additional guidance at What to Do If You Test Positive for COVID-19