Campus Messages

An archive of email messages sent to the entire UCSF community by the Chancellor and members of the Chancellor's Cabinet.

Two UCSF Health workers test positive for COVID-19

Dear UCSF Community,

We learned today that two health care workers at UCSF Health tested positive for COVID-19. Based on our investigation thus far, there is reason to believe that their exposure to the virus was from sources outside of our clinical facilities, but we are still working to make a final assessment. However, as part of our stringent protocol, we are taking every precaution to protect other health care workers and our patients. While we cannot be definitive about the source of the infection, we remain confident in our personal protection standards.

The health care workers are in self-quarantine, and we are identifying and notifying anyone who might have been in contact with them, including patients, staff, and clinicians. This investigation is being conducted by UCSF Occupational Health services in accordance with recommended best practices. Fellow employees who may have been exposed are being informed so they can either monitor their symptoms or be tested if they are symptomatic.

As you have read in several recent communications, we must take all appropriate actions to limit the opportunity for the community transmission of COVID-19. This includes exploring all options for reducing work performed by employees on-site at UCSF facilities through options such as telecommuting. Having our employees work from home when possible also will allow for greater opportunity to practice social distancing for employees who must work on-site. Actions like these will help “flatten the curve” of new COVID-19 cases and help reduce the demand for care in hospitals and clinics.

For our UCSF Health employees, faculty, and trainees working in clinical settings, we are taking additional actions to protect them as they provide care for our patients (in compliance with the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Order No. C19-06):

  • Requiring health screenings for all employees, clinicians, and necessary visitors before entering our hospital and emergency department locations. Guidance for outpatient locations will follow.
  • Requiring non-essential UCSF Health personnel to work from home. This includes employees, contractors, volunteers, or members of the public who do not perform treatment, maintenance, support, or administrative tasks deemed essential to our organization’s mission. Guidance for managers about who qualifies as non-essential personnel is forthcoming.
  • Restricting most visitors from entering our San Francisco hospitals and emergency departments. We will define some exceptions such as support persons for patients under 18 years old and others who require assistance, unless the visitation conflicts with our priority of keeping our health care workers and patients safe. All visitors will be subject to health screenings and turned away if they refuse.

While these may be the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our workforce, they likely are not the last, given the presence of the virus in the Bay Area. We must all self-monitor vigilantly, especially if we have had a possible exposure to a known COVID-19 patient, as well as any other known exposure.

For our care providers at work, as long as you are adhering to our strict infection prevention policies, the risk of exposure should be low. This means you can continue to come to work as long as you are not symptomatic. However, if you develop unusual fatigue, cough or other concerning respiratory symptoms, or fever, please stay home. Human Resources has provided guidance to managers on employee time off and compensation related to the COVID-19 outbreak. You can find an FAQ online.

The circumstances around COVID-19 change daily, and we want you to know that we are taking all possible actions to ensure that we can continue to deliver on our commitment to patients while protecting the health and well-being of the entire UCSF community.

We will continue to provide open and transparent communications. Across UCSF, many teams are working to provide you updates and guidance. Please read all messages related to COVID-19 and visit the UCSF COVID-19 Resource Page to stay informed and current.

We know the uncertainty about COVID-19 is concerning. Our colleagues who are on the front lines providing care to our community deserve our support and appreciation. We are extremely grateful for their professionalism, commitment, and service.

Sincerely,

Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Chancellor
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

Mark R. Laret
President and Chief Executive Officer
UCSF Health

This alert is a public service to the University community and in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act of 1998.