COVID-19 at UBC: Few PCR tests conducted in UBC community health service area last week

A strikingly low number of PCR tests are currently being conducted in the UBC community health service area.

According to new data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), 18 cases were reported in the UBC neighbourhood between February 8 to 14, with a 38 per cent test positivity for public tests conducted. That means there were roughly 47 PCR tests conducted during this time period.

This data does not include results of rapid tests distributed by the university. It also only covers those who live within the UBC community health service area — roughly west of Blanca Street.

Testing capacity around the province has continued to be low. The province is currently recommending people only get tested if they are symptomatic and either immunocompromised, not fully vaccinated or live and work in a high-risk setting, meaning many students don’t have access to PCR testing at all. PCR testing isn’t available on campus — students have to travel downtown to access testing if they're eligible.

The university says its rapid testing distribution — which started last week — is for symptomatic students, faculty and staff, but hasn’t commented on whether or not its testing distribution guidelines are following the BCCDC’s guidelines.

Vaccination rates have slowed in growth. According to the BCCDC, 98 per cent of people 5+ in the UBC community health service area have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 94 per cent of those aged 5+ have received a second dose. The BCCDC doesn’t currently release UBC-specific data about third doses for anyone under 70+, but 86 per cent of that population has received a booster.

Provincially, hospitalizations have begun to decline. As of Monday, 803 people are in hospital with COVID-19, a 43-person decrease from Friday.

Tonight, most COVID-19 restrictions will end. Indoor gatherings, outdoor gatherings and indoor seated events will now return to full capacity. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs will be able to return to full capacity.

Masks are still required indoors, and the vaccine card program is still in place.