UC Berkeley reported 81 new COVID-19 cases among students and staff since Thanksgiving, according to a campuswide email sent out Friday.
Though contact tracing efforts, University Health Services, or UHS, learned that the positive cases are likely linked to Thanksgiving gatherings and travel. The update follows a campus announcement that SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19, was found in wastewater from University Village and Clark Kerr Campus, two campus-owned housing units. The vast majority of cases, however, continue to occur in off-campus housing.
According to the email, 56 of the new cases occurred in the last week, and 11 of the new cases were among campus staff. UHS noted that the spread of cases may be tied to staff taking lunch breaks together, encouraging campus staff to continue to practice social distancing during downtime, not share utensils or food and use hand hygiene before and after eating.
Although the percentage of campus COVID-19 cases remains under 2%, and UC Berkeley has not experienced any significant clusters of positive cases, COVID-19 is spreading exponentially. It remains likely that positive cases related to Thanksgiving activities will continue to emerge.