Monday, Sept. 21, 7 a.m.Students: It's not too late to pick up free face coverings. Pickup is available Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the north side of the MLK Jr. Student Union Building, by the steps leading from Lower Sproul to Upper Sproul Plaza. Each current student can get two free “Cal” cloth face coverings, while supplies last. Bring your Cal 1 Card, accept the Keep Berkeley Healthy Pledge in CalCentral and complete the Daily Symptom Screener before coming to campus.
Friday, Sept. 18, 3 p.m.
You can now be fined up to $500 in the city of Berkeley for not wearing a mask. The Berkeley city council has approved an ordinance that allows city staff to issue citations to individuals and businesses that are in violation of the city’s COVID-19 public health orders.
The current orders require you to:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a face covering when in public places.
- Maintaining a separation of at least six feet between members of different households.
- Wash your hands and otherwise maintain good hygiene.
- Stay home when you are sick or may have been infected with or exposed to COVID-19.
- Limit gatherings of persons from different households, and in particular, avoid indoor gatherings involving persons from more than one household.
Friday, Sept. 18, noon
Since the start of the pandemic, University Health Services has been testing people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have had a close exposure with a positive case. This type of testing, referred to as clinical testing or symptomatic testing, continues to this day.
In addition, the campus has been screening asymptomatic members of the UC Berkeley community. This type of testing is sometimes referred to as surveillance testing, or community screening. This effort was initially focused on students living in congregate housing who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. It kicked off in August with students living in residence halls, who are required to be tested twice per week. This was followed by students living in congregate housing such as Greek houses and the co-ops. These students are also at high risk and are strongly encouraged to be tested.
Testing has also been expanded to clinical trainees and higher risk essential workers. Community screening was moved to the large Field House at the Rec Sports Facility to accommodate this expansion.
Regular surveillance testing is a critical component of helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The campus is working towards having the capacity to conduct up to 60,000 tests monthly and open up testing to more of the campus community. To accommodate this volume, an additional sample collection site will open at Memorial Stadium within the coming weeks.
Faculty and staff who are currently approved to be on campus during the pandemic can also get tested through the IGI Saliva Testing (FAST) Study. Find out more and sign up for an appointment with IGI.
University Health Services does expect to see both isolated cases and small clusters within our campus population, given local epidemiology and transmission occurrences in the city of Berkeley. They see no cause for concern at the current rate as long as everyone continues to wear facial coverings, maintains six feet of physical distance with non-household members and follows other public health guidelines. Contact tracing has been working well and those involved have been very cooperative.
With the increase in testing, it is both expected and advantageous that we are identifying cases that might have otherwise gone undetected. Through early identification, isolation, and contact tracing, we are able to get ahead of potential spreads, even before the infected person may be aware they are infectious.