1st UC Berkeley COVID-19 case reported in sociology department

Desiree Diaz/File

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Update 3/14/2020: This brief was updated to include information from campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore. 

Update 3/15/2020: This brief was updated to include additional information from campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore.

A UC Berkeley graduate student in the sociology department has tested positive for COVID-19, colloquially known as the coronavirus, the first reported on-campus case of the disease.

UCPD sent a Nixle alert saying the student lives off-campus. The alert also said campus officials are working to determine who has been in contact with the patient and direct them with further instruction.

Vice Chancellor of Administration Marc Fisher and Assistant Vice Chancellor of University Health Services Guy Nicolette also sent a campuswide email, stating that the individual does not live in Berkeley and has self-isolated in their city of residence. According to the email, the individual with COVID-19 is in “good condition” and is not exhibiting any “serious symptoms.”

“We understand that this news is unsettling, but we want to assure you that your health and safety remain our number one priority,” Fisher and Nicolette said in the email. “We are also coordinating to make sure that the student is getting the care needed.”

According to various faculty from the sociology department, the student’s case is mild and they have contacted county public health officials. Members of the department encouraged those feeling sick to seek a doctor’s consultation and those who have been in department offices to self-isolate.

Public health officials have determined that no one was put at greater risk from this contact with the individual diagnosed with COVID-19 than the general population, according to campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore. She added that people exhibiting symptoms should still reach out to their physicians or University Health Services if they are concerned.

This reported case comes after campus administration canceled in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester Friday. Cal Athletics has canceled its activities and competitions for the rest of the semester, and campus administration canceled Cal Day, which was originally scheduled for April 18.

“The virus is circulating within our broader community and as tests become more widely available we will hear of more confirmed cases,” Fisher and Nicolette said in the email. “This is a reality that the campus has been preparing for.”

Check back for updates here.

Kate Finman is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.