Data released by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) this week indicates that rates of COVID-19 at UBC are among the lowest in the province.
BC has been experiencing a downward trend in its rates of COVID-19 for several weeks now. The rolling average of new cases in the province recently dipped below 350 for the first time since last November — and it continues to decrease.
The numbers have been particularly low at UBC. Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the BCCDC have declined to produce UBC-specific data throughout most of the pandemic, but that has now changed thanks to neighbourhood-specific numbers being posted on the province’s COVID-19 dashboard.
In the week of May 19 to May 24, the UBC neighbourhood saw a daily COVID-19 case rate of just one case per 100,000 residents, representing a decrease from 9.2 cases per 100,000 people the previous week. The testing positivity rate was only one per cent in that week, having declined from 3.4 the week before.
That positivity rate is more than six per cent less than the total rate for VCH.
Vaccination rates in and around UBC remain low compared to neighbouring regions. As of May 24, only 37 per cent of adults in the UBC neighbourhood had received their first doses, compared to 66 per cent province-wide.
However, this is likely due to a significant portion of the population being ineligible for vaccination until the past week.
This data is also a harbinger of good news for those looking forward to a return to campus in the fall.
Dr. Bonnie Henry expects life to return to as normal as possible by the beginning of September. The province has announced a four-stage reopening plan that started on May 25. British Columbians from outside the same household may now gather indoors with five people or one other household, and indoor dining may return to BC restaurants.
If all goes according to plan, the indoor gathering size will continue to increase throughout the summer on June 15 and masks will simply be a recommendation in public by July 1. By the start of the 2021/22 school year, most restrictions will be lifted.
These dates are dependent on cases and hospitalizations continuing to decrease, and a certain percentage of BC’s population must be partially vaccinated for the province to advance to each stage.