UC Berkeley student tests positive for COVID-19, campus officials respond

Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher and Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Health Services Guy Nicolette sent the following message to the campus community Saturday evening:

UPDATED Saturday, March 14, 2020, 7:45 p.m.: Public health officials have determined that there are no high risk contacts from this case, meaning that no one is at significantly higher risk of contracting it from the infected individual than would be expected in the general population.

People should continue to monitor their health and be in touch with their physician or University Health Services if they are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms.

We’re writing to share that we have confirmed that a member of our campus community has contracted COVID-19. The individual is a graduate student who does not live on campus property or in the city of Berkeley and has self-isolated in their city of residence. The individual is in good condition and has no serious symptoms.

We are coordinating closely with public health officials and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  state and local health guidance in responding to this case. University Health Services (UHS) professionals are working with public health officials to determine whether there are members of the campus community who need to be advised about their contacts with this student.

We understand that this news is unsettling, but we want to assure you that your health and safety remain our number one priority. Facilities personnel will be alerted and will provide deep cleaning to any appropriate areas. We are also coordinating to make sure that the student is getting the care needed.

Due to privacy concerns, we will not release any information involving specific student records or private health care information, but our safety protocols have been activated in order to mitigate further exposure.

We understand that some members of our community may be concerned that they have the virus. This may include circumstances where you have had contact with someone you believe or know to have the virus. Students should contact the UHS advice line at (510) 643-7197, and faculty and staff should contact their medical providers, if they have symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, or had close sustained contact with a known positive case of COVID-19. Most other situations simply require self-monitoring for symptoms, reasonable social distancing strategies, good hand-washing and cough etiquette, and regular cleaning of frequently- touched surfaces. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to stay home when ill.

The virus is circulating within our broader community, and as tests become more widely available, we will hear of more confirmed cases. This is a reality that the campus has been preparing for and is ready for, in terms of protocols established in coordination with local public health authorities and in our new policies designed to limit large gatherings on campus.

In the meantime, we encourage everyone to view the helpful resource information, including tips on proper hygiene, such as lathering your hands and washing for at least 20 seconds, as well as mental health resources, on the UHS website.

The situation regarding COVID-19 is dynamic, and, consequently, guidance from public health officials and the CDC changes frequently. The COVID-19 campus website is being updated regularly with the latest information.

Please take care of yourselves, and be kind to one another. Our Principles of Community should guide all of our actions as we manage through this moment together.