COVID-19 at UBC: Campus hits an average of 13 daily cases per 100,000 residents as vaccine card comes into effect

Cases of COVID-19 at UBC have increased once again, according to new data released by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

The latest update to the BCCDC’s COVID-19 dashboard revealed that the UBC neighbourhood saw on average 13 daily new cases per 100,000 residents between September 7 and September 13. This is an increase from the seven daily new cases per 100,000 reported this time last week. Meanwhile, the testing positivity rate increased from one to two per cent in this period.

The vaccination rate has swiftly increased. Ninety-two per cent of UBC area residents aged 12+ have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, making UBC’s coverage among the highest in the Lower Mainland. However, the rate of full vaccination remains at just 79 per cent in that age group.

The COVID-19 hotspot in the Lower Mainland remains the Downtown Eastside, currently reporting around 40 new cases a day per 100,000 residents. Provincially, the Nechako Lakes and Smithers areas are the hotspots, with 71 and 69 cases per capita respectively.

These numbers come to us one week after the beginning of classes, so we will likely not know the full impact of the return of students to campus on COVID-19 numbers for another week. However, there have already been reports of possible exposures in some classes. UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health declined to confirm the accuracy of these reports.

The BC Vaccine Card program came into effect on Monday. From September 13 onward, proof of vaccination is required to enter a host of non-essential businesses, including restaurants, theatres and patios. On campus, proof of vaccination is necessary to attend club meetings, sporting events and most UBC Recreation facilities.

To ease the program into place, businesses are to accept paper vaccine cards until September 26 and customers who are only partially vaccinated until October 24. However, customers must be fully vaccinated after that date.

BC is thoroughly in the midst of its fourth wave of the pandemic. Provincial case numbers appear to have plateaued at roughly 700 new cases a day, albeit with considerable daily fluctuations.

The BCCDC has not consistently released the proportion of cases that are in unvaccinated individuals, but Health Minister Adrian Dix has reported that 92 per cent of patients in intensive care with COVID-19 have not received a shot. However, Dix has also reported that 86 per cent of eligible British Columbians have received their first shot and 78.5 per cent have received their second.