Health Advisory: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

February 21, 2020

Health Advisory: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Note: Below is the latest UHS update about the new coronavirus. We will continue to provide updates on this web page weekly, or sooner if needed.  


Updated February 21, 2020

For the latest updates and current information on Coronavirus (COVID-19), please see the CDC COVID-19 summary page.  

Updated February 14, 2020

Over the past week, the novel coronavirus has continued to spread, with the majority of cases still within mainland China and scattered cases globally.  There have been no cases in Alameda County at this time.

What have we learned thus far?

The complete clinical picture remains unclear, however a picture is emerging that the main symptoms are fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath, with mild symptoms sometimes worsening during the second week.  Most people do not seem to have severe illness, however deaths are continuing to be reported, predominantly but not exclusively in people with underlying medical conditions. The true extent of this infection and its mortality remain unknown, since we do not know how many people who are infected have no or mild symptoms -- they are not being tested, and currently available test methodology probably would not pick up asymptomatic infection.  In addition, varying case definitions, lack of sufficient test kits, and challenges with medical facilities meeting patient demand, have contributed to lack of clarity around extent and rate of expansion within China. However, we can expect to start learning more soon, in part because U.S. capacity to test for the infection will soon expand significantly with the availability of test kits at local public health laboratories.

Recent significant developments have included:

  • A new name: on February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the current outbreak of coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

  • The beginning of clinical trials of the antiviral drug remdesivir in China

  • Guidance regarding the care of any exposed university-affiliated persons from the California Dept of Public Health: home quarantine and monitoring in most cases, evaluated on a case-by-case basis in consultation with public health.

  • Clear guidance regarding the care of exposed healthcare workers from the CDC: same

  • Decision made by UCEAP to cancel all summer programs in mainland China

 UHS continues to work closely with public health officials and UC leaders to guide campus policy, assist those concerned about possible exposure, triage and evaluate those with possible symptoms, and prepare for the possibility of local cases.  

For more information see our FAQ on Coronavirus and the CDC COVID-19 home page.

For any concerns about your own symptoms, call your healthcare provider (students only: please call the UHS Advice Line at 510-643-7197).

For any questions related to the UCB response, please email telltang@berkeley.eduWhile we will not be able to respond to all emails directly, we read them all and will incorporate any responses into future updates as appropriate.


Previous Health Advisory Updates

Campus Messages