A spike in COVID-19 cases at the University of California, Berkeley has been linked to fraternity and sorority parties.
The number of coronavirus cases at the school jumped from 23 since the pandemic began to 47 new cases in one week, school officials said Wednesday.
UC Berkeley University Health Services Medical Director Anna Harte and Assistant Vice Chancellor Guy Nicolette issued a statement.
“The majority of these new cases stem from a series of recent parties connected to the CalGreek system, which included students both within the CalGreek community and others, and led to some secondary spread within households and within other smaller gatherings,” they said. “Generally, these infections are directly related to social events where students have not followed basic safety measures such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings, limiting event size, and gathering outside.”
The university is using contract tracing in an attempt to contain the outbreak, Harte and Nicolette said.
The surge in new cases could affect plans for the fall semester at UC Berkeley, a top-ranked public university that enrolls more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
“Campus recovery teams are working hard to plan for the Fall semester, including plans to return more students, staff and faculty to campus,” the statement said. “However, at the rate we are seeing increases in cases, it’s becoming harder to imagine bringing our campus community back in the way we are envisioning.”
The school has asked students not to attend large gatherings or events with crowds and not to socialize indoors with someone not in their household. They also asked students to wear face coverings and maintain six feet of distance.
More than 3 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the United States as of July 9, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In California, more than 296,000 coronavirus cases have been reported and more than 6,700 people have died.