University of California, Berkeley has brought in sweeping new lockdown measures to tackle COVID-19 as cases surge on campus.
Students now won’t be allowed to exit their dorms to conduct solo outdoor exercise, and a self-sequester mandate that was put in place for the campus has been extended until February 15.
An email from UC Berkeley student affairs to the student body obtained by The Daily Californian also announces an potential increase in campus security officers around the dorms.
Outdoor exercise is no longer going to be permitted on the UC Berkeley campus
There has been a surge in coronavirus cases on the college campus in the last two weeks
‘Due to the 14 day incubation period of this virus, it is too early to be sure we have contained this current surge,’ the email says.
‘We understand this extension is frustrating, but please understand this will help us mitigate further spread while protecting our community.’
Lack of compliance for the directives, which restrict movement outside of dorms to getting COVID-19 tests, medical care, food, or using a bathroom, may result in suspension from school or eviction from the dorms.
The self-sequester mandate only applies to those living in UC Berkeley’s dorms.
Solo outdoor exercise is part of the self-sequester mandate in place for campus dorms
There will also be more security officers out and about, monitoring the dorms
The spring semester at UC Berkeley began less than a month ago, a troubling sign
‘Right now it is critical that you avoid gatherings — large or small — even with your residential household grouping, whether indoors or outdoors, and even if your most recent COVID test is negative,’ the email continues.
While UC Berkeley is banning solo outdoor exercise, SFGATE reports the remainder of Alamdea County has no such ban in place.
The new protocols come as UC Berkeley is facing an explosion in cases, which they have been tracking on a public dashboard.
Pictured: The data on recent UC Berkeley cases, with a clear surge in recent weeks
In California, there has been over 3.36 million COVID-19 cases and almost 45,000 deaths
On the week of January 24, 146 people tested positive with the university’s health services, including 135 undergraduates, easily the highest testing numbers since the beginning of the school year.
Those numbers rose even more the following week, with 164 positive tests, including 156 undergraduates.
Through Tuesday, there have been 38 positive COVID-19 tests through college’s health services this week.
The spring semester began at the school on January 12, although in-person learning wasn’t allowed to commence prior to February 1.
No students are required to be on campus for the current semester or required to take in-person classes.
Typically, about 7,000 undergraduates live in university housing, although that number is likely much lower due to coronavirus.
The last time UC Berkeley saw a spike like this was over the summer, when maskless fraternity and sorority parties resulted in 47 cases over the course of a week.
Prior to that spike, the college had only seen 23 cases over the course of the entire pandemic.
In total, there have been over 27 million coronavirus cases in the United States so far
There have been over 3.36 million COVID-19 cases in California, including 8,390 in the last day.
The state is likely to surpass 45,000 total deaths in the next 24 hours, with California only being five away from that total as of Wednesday.
Just over five million vaccines have been administered in the state so far.
There have been over 27.2 million COVID-19 cases in the United States so far, with over 468,000 deaths as the country grapples with new, more contagious strains and a slow vaccine rollout.