Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

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Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, For media inquiries, (510) 981-7008

WITH UNPRECEDENTED SPREAD OF COVID-19, UP THE TOOLS FOR YOUR PANDEMIC GAME
Know how and when to isolate, test, vaccinate and mask

Berkeley, California (Friday, January 07, 2022) - You may just feel like you have the sniffles or a common cold, but you should treat it as COVID-19: stay home unless you get a negative test, isolate as required locally and notify those you may have seen recently.

For the rest of us, blunting Omicron's spread and severity requires upping our game with the tools we're already familiar with. Use boosters to stay up to date with vaccination. Wear your well-fitted cloth mask on top of a surgical one. Even better, use an N95 or KN95. Meet outdoors with others and keep indoor spaces well ventilated. Budget your risk knowing that risk is extremely high.

These steps now take on greater importance as the hyper-infectious Omicron variant tears through our community, doubling the cases of even our highest previous spike. While these acts help protect you and those you love, they are particularly important for the vulnerable among us, such as the elderly or immunocompromised.

"We are fortunate over 90 percent of our residents have gotten fully vaccinated and at least 40 percent have gotten boosters - our most powerful tools in this pandemic," said Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, the City Health Officer. "Our community's embrace of vaccination and simple pandemic-response tools has guided us thus far, but Omicron now requires us to ramp up our COVID-response game to another level."

Once you feel symptoms, isolate until you can get tested

Isolation

Symptoms of COVID-19 can feel like a common cold, the flu or even the sniffles. The only way to confirm is to get tested. Until you do, isolate.

State and City of Berkeley Health Officer Orders require everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to isolate and stay home until 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and symptoms have stopped.

The length can be shortened. If you have no symptoms and you get a negative test on Day 5 or later, you can end your isolation. An antigen test is preferred.

You are required to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days.

Quarantine

If you've been exposed - such as spending 15 minutes with a person with COVID-19 - you may need to quarantine. There are different rules based on your vaccination status.

The unvaccinated and the booster-eligible who haven't yet gotten that dose must stay home for at least 10 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.

The length can be shortened. If you have no symptoms and you get a negative test on Day 5 or later, you can end your quarantine.

No quarantine is required for those “up to date” on vaccinations – those who are boosted or those who are fully vaccinated but not yet eligible for boosters. Testing is recommended on Day 5.

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must isolate if they develop symptoms. Everyone must wear well-fitting masks around others, especially indoors, for 10 days after last close contact.

Know when, how to use testing

Antigen

Two types of testing can be used to see if you have COVID-19: PCR and antigen. 

The antigen test is what's used for most at-home kits. They're less sensitive. These home tests are most accurate when they're done as a pair, typically two over the course of a few days.

It takes a time for the viral load to build up to be detected, so the best time to test after an exposure is typically on Day 5 and Day 7 after an exposure.

If you get a positive antigen test and you have any concerns, see state guidance on when to seek care from your health care provider.

PCR

PCR tests are more sensitive and require lab confirmation. It can take several days to get results.

If you want a PCR test, seek out your health care provider first or contact your local Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS or other local pharmacy. Many providers have online tools to speed the process.

The City of Berkeley, like all public health jurisdictions, is provided resources to prioritize those without access to medical care. We have ramped testing as much as possible to address this surge.

Our sites are open to all. Those with health care should try to first go to their provider or a pharmacy so that testing can be freed up for those without access. Omicron's unprecedented spread has overwhelmed demand for testing everywhere.

Find and verify authorized testing sites via the City of Berkeley COVID-19 testing page or the state's testing locator.

Improve your mask - and do it to protect yourself as well as others

Wearing a face covering is not just about unknowingly spreading the virus. Because of Omicron's genetic mutations, mask also to protect yourself.

An N95, KN95 or KF94 are best. Otherwise, use your cloth mask over a surgical mask to improve the seal. Your cloth mask should be three layers.

A cloth mask alone is the least effective.

Protect yourself by having well-fitting masks that seal and are worn correctly: covering the entire mouth and nose.

See the California Department of Public Health's masking page for more detail about how to mask.

Stay up to date on vaccination

Getting two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not enough. Boosters are essential. Stay up to date to maintain the power of vaccines.

Get a booster if you are at least 12 years old and:

  • 5 months have passed since your second dose of Moderna (for 18+) or Pfizer (for 12+)
  • 2 months have passed since your Johnson & Johnson Dose (for 18+)

To find a booster shot appointment, use myturn.ca.gov, your health care provider, local pharmacies or one of the clinics coordinated by Berkeley Public Health.

Minimize your risk

At any point in the pandemic, you should budget your risk. When risk is as high as it is now, choose safer activities and choose which ones you might defer.

Prioritize what's important depending on your family or environment. See if the services you need can be accessed online.

Do so while upping your pandemic response game with boosters and better masks.

"We are privileged almost all of us can be vaccinated and that boosters are maintaining that power," said Dr. Hernandez, the City Health Officer. "Combined with double-masking or N95s, we see that they can be powerful shields to lead us through this critical time."

Note on updates: Jan. 14 revision added detail for quarantine requirements for those who are "up to date" on vaccination. Jan. 12 revision reflected new CDC guidance that those with a Moderna initial series can get boosters 5 months after second dose. January 10 revision added clarity on mask guidance.

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