City of Berkeley confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case

March 3, 2020

Dear campus community,

Local public health officials have confirmed today one case of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in the city of Berkeley. The individual is not affiliated with the campus and, at this time, there is no obvious connection.

The individual is in good condition and is isolating at home. This was a travel-related transmission of the virus, not a local community transmission, according to public health authorities.

We understand that news of a confirmed case within the city of Berkeley is unsettling. Please keep in mind that the risk to anyone in the general U.S. population remains low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

We remind the campus community to take appropriate precautions. Please call your healthcare provider or the University Health Services (UHS) Advice Line for students at (510) 643-7197 immediately if both of the following are true: 

  • You have a fever (>100.3F if measured) or cough/difficulty breathing AND

  • Travel to any area with sustained transmission within the 2 weeks before symptoms start or contact with a proven case of coronavirus. 

This does NOT necessarily mean you have the coronavirus but it means you should put on a mask and get assessed ASAP; if you have the flu UHS can also offer treatment.  

The best protection is thorough and frequent hand washing, lathering for at least 20 seconds (hand sanitizer works too), avoiding touching your face, and vaccination for the flu -- it’s still here.  Keep your work areas and door knobs clean. If you feel ill, stay home.

Regarding masks, while formally fitted N95 masks are required for healthcare providers and personnel assessing or transporting a possible case of COVID-19, they are NOT recommended for the general public.  They are not necessary and it is critical to preserve these supplies.

Please note that strict CDC guidelines determine who can be tested for this coronavirus and each test needs to be approved by the public health officer.  While each case is evaluated separately, and this may change, UHS and other health clinics are generally NOT currently testing people without a relevant travel history, unless they are severely ill and need to be hospitalized.

We understand that this news of a local case can be concerning and result in feelings of anxiousness. For additional information, please continue to visit the University Health Services web pages that contain an FAQ, a video with basic information about the virus, and information about mental health resources.

Campus leaders continue to meet regularly to address prevention and response efforts, which includes operations. For example, Environment, Health & Safety and Facility Services have been busy ensuring the safety of the campus environment through measures such as expanded distribution and placement of hand sanitizers and enhanced disinfection and cleaning procedures of common areas.

We will continue to keep the campus updated. 


Anna Harte, M.D
Medical Director, University Health Services

Marc Fisher
Vice Chancellor for Administration

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