COVID-19 at UBC: Data from May 25 to 30 shows persistently low case counts, increasing vaccination rates

Data released by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) this week indicates that the rate of COVID-19 remains low at UBC, fitting with BC’s provincial trend.

COVID-19 case counts have been trending downwards in the province since April, with the rolling average of new cases dropping to levels not seen since last October’s second wave.

However, data posted on the BCCDC COVID-19 dashboard demonstrates a slight uptick in COVID-19 prevalence on campus as of May 31.

According to the dashboard, the per capita rate of COVID-19 in the UBC neighbourhood was three cases per 100,000 residents from May 25 to May 30, three times the previous week’s cases. Meanwhile, the testing positivity rate rose from 1.8 to 3 per cent in the past week. While UBC’s active cases were on par with the nearby Point Grey and Shaugnessy neighbourhoods last week, UBC has a larger caseload this week.

However, these rates are very low compared to some of the province’s hardest hit areas, some of which are experiencing positivity rates over 10 per cent.

The provincial positivity rate was 6.5 per cent as of May 27, while the rate in Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) was 5.9 per cent. Both rates decreased from the previous week.

Vaccination rates at UBC are also increasing rapidly.

As of May 31, 48 per cent of adults in the UBC neighbourhood had received their first dose, an 11 per cent increase in one week. This rate lags well behind the provincial rate — which has surpassed 70 per cent — and that of Point Grey and Shaugnessy, but this can likely be attributed to a high proportion of UBC’s population being ineligible until very recently.

UBC is pushing forward with its return to campus plan come September, in which most classes will be in person.

According to a June 1 post on the UBC SSC, “courses will be primarily delivered in-person, with the expectation that students will attend on campus in September.” This plan is in line with the provincial reopening plan, which has been critiqued as potentially being overambitious.

The university’s plans could be derailed by any number of factors, including the spread of COVID-19 variants in BC. Public health officials are monitoring the B.1.617 India variant, which is highly contagious and responsible for three per cent of variant cases in BC.