COVID-19 at UBC: PCR test positivity decreases on campus as hospitalizations creep upward provincially

The most recent PCR testing data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) shows a drop in the testing positivity rate in the UBC community health area.

The BCCDC data reported a 17 per cent test positivity rate at UBC between March 22 to 28, down from 22 per cent last week. There was also a decrease in the case count, to two cases this week from five last week.

These numbers mean that just about 11 or 12 PCR tests were conducted in the UBC community health area in the last week. PCR testing continues to be available only to those who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or work or live in high-risk settings such as hospitals.

Rapid antigen testing is not considered in this data, although it is the primary form of testing that students can access. Students, faculty and staff are still recommended to report positive rapid test results to the BCCDC via their online form.

UBC and the AMS closed their on-campus rapid test distribution sites on March 18 due to supplies being exhausted.

However, all BC residents aged 18+ with valid MSP can access rapid testing kits at participating pharmacies across the province. Eligible individuals can acquire 1 testing kit every 28 days. Each kit contains five rapid tests. On campus, students can access these publicly distributed tests at Shoppers Drug Mart and University Pharmacy.

While the mask mandate has been lifted provincially, it will continue at UBC until the end of the winter session on April 30. Masks are required in public indoor settings on campus, including libraries, residences, the AMS Nest and the Life Building.

On a provincial level, 313 new cases were reported as of March 29, marking an increase from the consistent downward trend from March 25 to 28. Hospitalizations also rose sharply over the weekend, from 260 on Friday to 288 on Monday. However, the number of hospitalizations had decreased to 273 as of the most recent update on March 29.

There has also been one new death in the past 24 hours, reported by the Northern Health authority. This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in BC to 2,990 since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Vaccination data remains virtually the same to the previous week, with very slight increases. The BCCDC reported that 96 per cent of residents aged 5+ in the UBC community health area are fully vaccinated, as compared to 95 per cent last week. Sixty-eight per cent of residents aged 50+ have received their third dose.