April 14, 2020 - Limited on-campus COVID-19 testing for students, staff and faculty

University Health Services sent the following message to all UC Berkeley faculty, staff and students on 04/14/20:


We are writing to share new information about the COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff that began at University Health Services (UHS) last week in collaboration with the Innovative Genomics Institute’s pop up laboratory.    

Initially, testing at the Tang Center was limited to students, UC Berkeley first responders and healthcare workers. We are happy to announce that we are able at this time to open up testing to any members of our faculty or staff who are required to work on campus to support the campus’s essential functions as permitted under the stay-at-home order.  

All testing is for only people with symptoms. 

Students concerned they might have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are encouraged to schedule a telephone appointment online via eTang, or they can stop by UHS (Bancroft Way side) Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at which time they will be connected with a clinician for assessment.  Students should also always feel free to call the 24/7 UHS Advice Line at (510) 643-7197.  Enrollment in the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan is not required to access care at UHS. 

Employees concerned that they might have COVID-19 should consult with their primary care provider as usual for their medical care, however since testing in the community remains limited, they may, if interested, also call the UC Berkeley Occupational Health COVID-19 hotline at (510)332-7192 to see if they can be tested at UHS. 

Testing is performed 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to  4 p.m. on the Durant Avenue side of the Tang Center either as a walk-up or drive-through. All testing and swabbing require a clinician's order.  Test results are typically known in 24-48 hours if not sooner.

In addition, we request that students, faculty, staff and other campus affiliates who may already have tested positive for COVID-19 via another testing center, call UHS’s CONFIDENTIAL COVID line at (510) 643-8227 to inform our clinical leadership.  We want to offer our support and services to help those through their care and recovery, and raise our awareness of the number of positive cases in the campus community. This will help us plan our services and guide campus decisions as we all gradually recover.  Your private information will not be shared beyond that required for public health reporting. 

The current testing is Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which shows who is currently shedding the virus (and thus potentially infectious).  It is unclear at this time how reliable this widely-used swab test is in people without symptoms, which is why UHS is limiting testing to individuals with symptoms.   A different type of test, antibody (serological) testing, which shows if people have developed antibodies to COVID-19, is not currently available.  UHS has ordered these kits but we do not currently expect delivery until May.

For more health and wellness information, see the UHS COVID-19 webpage for the latest health advisory, and physical and mental health resources for students, faculty and staff.  Thank you for all you are doing to shelter in place and help prevent the spread and flatten the curve.  Our campus is doing an excellent job thus far!