How to report COVID-19 cases on UC Berkeley’s campus

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost A. Paul Alivisatos, Vice Chancellor, Administration Marc Fisher, Chief People & Culture Officer/Assistant Vice Chancellor-Human Resources Eugene Whitlock, and Assistant Vice Chancellor University Health Services Guy Nicolette sent the following message to the campus community on Friday:

As more members of the campus community return, we know that many of you have questions about the sharing of information regarding positive COVID-19 cases that might occur in your campus units or in your building.

We have developed protocols for staff, supervisors/managers and dean/chairs, as well as guidance specific to laboratory settings. We hope this is helpful.

It is completely understandable that staff, faculty, or students may want to know if someone in their unit tested positive, and managers or deans/chairs may feel the need to share such information with their units. Generally, we cannot. Due to medical privacy rights, we are not able to release identifying personal information, and individuals are not compelled to share this information. University Health Services (UHS) will engage in rigorous contact tracing and notify individuals and units that have had close contact with individuals who have tested positive.

In most cases, individuals will not be notified of a case in their unit unless they were determined to be in close contact with the individual who tested positive.

Simply working or living in the same building with someone who recently tested positive does not put you at higher risk for getting the virus. In most cases, your risk would be no greater than your everyday risk posed by community spread. There are, of course, exceptions such as if you worked closely with that individual — in such cases you will be notified directly via contact tracing. Our best advice is to act at all times as though you have the virus, and others do as well: Wear a face covering in all shared spaces, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and limit social gatherings to those within your household or social bubble.

For managers, supervisors, deans, and chairs: Please contact UHS COVID-19 hotline at 510-332-7192 to notify them if you become aware of positive cases in your department. Officials there will guide you regarding any instructions to provide to the employee who tested positive. UHS also will coordinate with other units as needed, potentially including Environment, Health and Safety and Facilities Services.

You should know that the Office of Communications and Public Affairs keeps a running total of the number COVID-19 positive tests conducted at UHS. It is updated weekly, or as needed when more urgent, major developments occur, and will shortly be transitioned to a live dashboard tracking the number of tests performed and positive results. It will be important for the campus to capture COVID-19 test results from individuals who are tested outside of UHS. Employees (staff and faculty) are encouraged to report their COVID-19 positive results to the Occupational Health Hotline at 510-332-7192.

Major developments regarding COVID-19 test results trends or developments may be communicated via Cal Message or other communications tools, as needed.

Please continue to take care and be well.