COVID-19 at UBC: Rapid testing program cancelled as cases continue to drop, BCCDC data shows

The prevalence of COVID-19 at UBC has continued to gradually decline, according to new data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

The new numbers have revealed a 33 per cent testing positivity rate among UBC-area residents between February 22 and 28, a two per cent decrease from last week. This translated into 13 cases in this time frame. However, due to PCR tests only being available to immunocompromised and unvaccinated individuals, these numbers indicate that only 39 tests were completed.

Rapid antigen test results are not counted within BCCDC data.

The latest release also showed that 95 per cent of UBC-area residents aged 5+ have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 66 per cent of those aged 50+ have received their booster doses. Notably, booster coverage at UBC is less than in neighbouring neighbourhoods such as Dunbar-Southlands and Kitsilano, each of which have rates just under 80 per cent.

Across the Vancouver-Westside health region — which encompasses everything west of Arbutus Street — 61 per cent of residents aged 5+ have been boosted against COVID-19.

Data released on February 24 by the Ministry of Health demonstrated that the rate of COVID-19 is decreasing across the province, according to available date.

While the lack of testing capacity makes precise case numbers impossible to determine, wastewater analysis has demonstrated steady declines in COVID-19 prevalence at each of Metro Vancouver’s five waste treatment facilities. Moreover, hospitalizations have been decreasing, falling by 48 per cent through the month of February.

While deaths have been slowly decreasing as well, 22 British Columbians passed away from COVID-19 this past weekend.

On campus, UBC is shifting towards a post-pandemic approach to COVID-19.

The university recently announced that it will be scrapping its rapid testing program for individuals who have not declared their vaccination status. President Santa Ono and Vice-Chancellor Lesley Cormack announced the change via a broadcast email, saying that with the province’s changing approach to the pandemic, the program “no longer has utility.”

“The evolution of the virus and the presence of the Omicron variant now indicates that a different public health and safety approach should be taken,” they wrote in the broadcast.

Rapid tests will remain available on campus for symptomatic and asymptomatic students, faculty and staff. As is the case across the province, masks remain mandatory in indoor environments on campus.