Cheryl Lloyd: University of California.

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Author: Russ Banham
Date: Apr. 2021
From: Risk Management(Vol. 68, Issue 3)
Publisher: Sabinet Online
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,646 words
Lexile Measure: 1450L

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February 26, 2020 is a day that Cheryl Lloyd will never forget--that was the day the first COVID-19 community transmission in the United States was diagnosed at the UC Davis Medical Center.

Lloyd is the chief risk officer and interim vice president of systemwide human resources for the University of California, a public research university system comprising 10 research universities, five academic medical centers, and three affiliated national laboratories, with more than 280,000 students and 230,000 faculty and staff.

When she first learned of the transmission, Lloyd was in an offsite meeting at a Portland, Oregon hotel with interim CFO Paul Jenny, COO Rachael Nava and a group of brokers, actuaries and other consultants discussing captive insurance operations. The COO received an urgent message to contact the UC's Executive Vice President of Health Dr. Carrie Byington at UC's Oakland, California-based headquarters. "We were informed we needed to cancel the meeting and immediately return to Oakland," Lloyd recalled.

Once there, Lloyd and the team joined Dr. Byington, an infectious disease specialist and head of the university's various health enterprises, then-President Janet Napolitano, former Secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, and other senior leaders in an onsite meeting to discuss a cohesive approach to managing a community transmission. Up to that point, coronavirus cases in the United States had only been linked to recent contact with other confirmed cases. But a "community transmission" denotes an instance where there is no dear source of origin for an infection.

At the time, the public was unaware of the community spread so Lloyd immediately reached out to members of UC's emergency response team to inform them. "I, along with others started making phone calls, making sure everyone on the team knew what was going on before it hit the media," she said. "Then, we started planning how to get the word out across the UC system. There was a good chance we would need to close the university."

On February 27, President Trump announced to the public that a patient with no history of travel to China or other COVID-19 "hot spots" had been diagnosed with the virus, indicating that the pandemic had entered a new phase in the United States. Although he never mentioned it was at a UC hospital, everyone at UC knew and understood the gravity of the moment.


As the crisis began to take shape, the University of California looked to its experts for guidance. "We were...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A678037150