Dear Berkeley community -
As we approach the upcoming July 4th holiday weekend and with the recent rise in COVID-19 cases locally, in California, and across the country, it is more important than ever to be socially responsible and to slow the spread of COVID-19. Below are some health prevention reminders as well as an update on COVID-19 testing on campus.
Typically this summer holiday weekend is a time to gather with others, attend events or outings, and be with extended family and friends. And while some of the shelter-in-place orders have loosened in some counties, others are reversing their orders due to the increase in cases. We are still in a public health pandemic and we all need to do our part to help prevent the spread and to increase the chance of successfully returning to some on-site campus activities in F all.
Avoid crowds and large gatherings
- Do not visit crowded places
- Keep gatherings to 12 or fewer people within your “bubble,” outside and with facial coverings
- Do not socialize with anyone aside from your household indoors
Keep a safe physical distance
- Maintain at least 6 feet away from others outside your household whenever possible
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
Wear face coverings anytime out in public or with others that are not in your immediate household
- Face covering should cover your nose and mouth
- Wear a face covering in public settings and when physical distancing is hard
- Avoid touching face covering other than to remove and clean
Wash your hands frequently
- For 20 seconds with soap and water
- Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
It is also important to remember that younger people are not immune to potential serious impacts if they get COVID-19 and, even with mild to no symptoms, they can still spread to others. If you do find yourself in a situation of risk, please take extra care to protect others during the two weeks following your exposure, in particular those with age or underlying medical conditions that put them at higher risk of serious disease.
Testing on campus
Please be aware that despite much effort and messaging to the contrary, testing capacity locally and nationally remains limited. A lot of work is happening to ramp up capacity here on campus for more widespread surveillance/screening, but for right now, testing is available at University Health Services only for the following categor ies:
Testing for students, faculty and staff with COVID-19 symptoms:
Testing is available at the Tang Center for those with COVID-19 symptoms and a clinician's orders. A phone appointment is required first. Please see our testing page for more information, and stay home unless otherwise instructed.
Testing for students, faculty and staff who have been in close contact with people with confirmed COVID-19:
Testing is available on a limited basis for those who have been in close contact (>15 minutes less than 6 feet apart) with someone confirmed to have COVID-19. Please only call if it has been 3-10 days since the exposure; testing too soon does not have value. See the testing page for more information, and stay home unless otherwise instructed.
Testing for those returning to campus:
In coordination with campus programs and departments, UHS has begun testing for selected groups of students, faculty, and staff who are returning to campus over the summer, as required by external organizations. This will be expanded as capacity allows.
Testing for COVID-19 Research Study:
The School of Public Health has a research study that is on-going now through the Summer, Berkeley Safe Campus Initiative. For details see the study's website.
We appreciate that everyone is feeling the need to be with others after months of sheltering in place, but sustained effort is critical to maintaining healthcare capacity and keeping people safe. We also know many folks want to know their COVID-19 status, regardless of symptoms, and we are confident that capacity will exist by the end of the summer. In the meantime, essential staff working on campus are encouraged to sign up for the IGI Fast saliva study, which will move us along that path, and others can explore access to testing in the community.
To stay up to date on the latest from the campus, visit the campus COVID resources and support webpages.
Stay healthy and safe,
Anna Harte, MD, Medical Director, University Health Services
Guy Nicolette, MD, CASQM, Executive Director & AVC, University Health Services