UC Berkeley reported 55 new cases of COVID-19 among undergraduate students, as well as two new cases among graduate students, in a campuswide update Friday.
The update noted that the uptick in infections may not be completely related to winter break travel. Students are advised to avoid public gatherings or events with individuals beyond their social bubble.
“We are currently seeing both an increase in cases and, nationwide and within California, the emergence of new strains of the virus that are more infectious,” the update states. “It is of the utmost importance now to stem the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to public health advice.”
While vaccines are becoming more available, according to the update, they are yet to be fully implemented. Students should be aware that negative tests may not always mean that it is safe to gather, the update added, noting asymptomatic carriers and the long incubation period.
Students are advised to contact the University Health Services confidential lines if they have tested positive or believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Students should continue to follow public health protocols, including wearing face coverings and socially distancing from others.
Individuals living off-campus, including those in fraternities, sororities and co-ops, are strongly encouraged to get tested twice weekly. All registered students living in the University Village campus housing are required to participate in testing once a week, and residents in other campus housing are also required to get tested twice weekly.
“We truly hope you will partner with us during this crucial moment in the pandemic to reduce virus transmission,” the update states. “Only with your help will we be able to turn a corner and return to the in-person student activities we all miss.”