COVID-19 at UBC: Cases remain low as vaccination rates fluctuate

In the fourth week of in-person classes, COVID-19 case rates at UBC remain low, according to new data from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

Between September 28 and October 4, the UBC neighbourhood saw an average of four daily cases per 100,000 residents, up slightly from three average daily cases last week. The test positivity rate for all tests, both publicly-funded and private testing, remains stable at one per cent. This data only includes people with a permanent address in the UBC community health area — the area west of Blanca.

The first-dose vaccination coverage for residents ages 12+ fell to 95 per cent, down from 100 per cent last week and 96 per cent two weeks ago.

The BCCDC said the first-dose 12+ rate “was adjusted slightly to limit the influence of age-specific variation on the overall figure,” referring to its recent data note explaining that the vaccination rate for 18-29 year olds in Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is falsely elevated because out-of-town university students are not included in the population estimate. Yesterday’s data release continues to list 100 per cent vaccination coverage for the 18-29 age group.

Second-dose vaccination coverage for those 12+ rose from 86 per cent to 91 per cent.

This figure gives UBC the highest rate of full vaccination in the Lower Mainland, but this data may also be impacted by the issue of an incorrect denominator.

In a recent statement to The Ubyssey, VCH said it has not identified a single case of in-class transmission at UBC since the start of the school year. A rapid testing clinical trial and mandatory rapid testing program is currently running at UBC, but no testing site is available on campus for symptomatic individuals. Discussions between UBC and the health authority are ongoing, but few details are available.

According to the student-run COVID-19 tracker, instructors have been told not to automatically inform classes about a COVID-19 exposure, instead leaving the decision to their department head. This claim appears to be supported by UBC guidance which states: “Any response to students in a class should be made through the Head of Department/School … there is no obligation for us to notify students in the class.”

A drop-in vaccine clinic is now open until October 29 in the Ponderosa North Building Ballroom. The clinic operates Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.