COVID-19 at UBC: PCR testing positivity increases as rapid testing becomes available to everyone 18+

The prevalence of COVID-19 at UBC appears to have increased since last week, according to new data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

The BCCDC reported a 22 per cent testing positivity rate in its latest update for the week of March 15 to March 21, up eight per cent from the previous week’s update. However, this translates to just five cases over that span.

Notably, BCCDC data only includes cases recorded via publicly-funded PCR tests, which are only available to immunocompromised or unvaccinated individuals, as well as those working in high-risk settings such as hospitals or long-term care facilities. Results obtained via rapid antigen tests are not included in this data.

These numbers translate to just 22 PCR tests being performed on UBC area residents in the past week.

The BCCDC also reported that 95 per cent of UBC area residents aged 5+ are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 67 per cent of residents aged 50+ have received booster doses.

In the Vancouver-Westside health region — which encompasses everywhere west of Arbutus Street — 63 per cent of residents aged 5+ have received third doses.

UBC has closed its rapid test distribution sites on campus in the past week as its test supply was exhausted. The AMS has also run out of tests to distribute.

There is no timeline available on whether distribution will continue.

However, the province has just made rapid tests available to anyone aged 18+. Students can get one pack of five tests every 28 days from participating pharmacies across BC.

While mask usage is now optional in indoor settings across the province, UBC has chosen to maintain its mask mandate through April 30. Masks are still required in any UBC building, as well as the AMS Nest and Life Building.