UC Berkeley sets up student living quarters as quarantine facilities

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Campus has established living quarters for students in campus housing who need to be quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19, more colloquially known as the coronavirus.

The city of Berkeley Public Health Division requires people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive to quarantine themselves or self-isolate. University Health Services, or UHS, put in place procedures that required campus to provide separate housing for students living on campus who fall into these categories.

“These students would also have the option to obey the order by quarantining outside of campus housing in a location of their own choosing that is acceptable to the health department,” said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an email.

Campus has set up two facilities that can house 42 students in total, according to Gilmore. Other locations are being considered for additional facilities. The two facilities in operation have been approved by UHS and the city of Berkeley Public Health Division.

Each facility will provide meal services and other resources for the students affected.

“Daily cleaning and disinfecting services will be provided by a professional contractor well-versed in high level cleaning,” Gilmore said in the email. “Residents will receive clear instructions regarding isolation space requirements, and will be provided with masks to wear should they need to leave the space for medical visits.”

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are required to self-isolate will also have separate living spaces, bathrooms and food delivery from students who are isolating but asymptomatic.

As of press time, no students have been moved to these facilities, as campus does not know of any confirmed COVID-19-positive students living in campus housing.

“We know that can change at a moment’s notice given that public health officials note that community spread is very much in the Bay Area and elsewhere,” Gilmore said in the email.

Contact Megha Krishnan at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @_meghakrishnan_.