The University of Arizona’s COVID-19 virtual university status update team met Monday to discuss the potential transition to Phase 3 of reentry, new COVID-19 data and updated vaccination numbers for the UA Point of Distribution.
UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins reminded viewers that the university will continue in Phase 2 of reentry for the next two weeks. Classes of 50 or fewer students designated as "in-person" or "flex in-person" are permitted to meet for in-person instruction.
Beginning March 29, the university will transition into Phase 3 of reentry. Classes of 100 or fewer students designated as "in-person" or "flex in-person" will be permitted to meet for in-person instruction.
The UA has now administered 64,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine total as of the meeting and over 15,000 doses from March 8 to March 14. Robbins noted that 19% of individuals vaccinated at the UA POD self-identify as Hispanic or Latinx.
Robbins reminded members of the university community that those who are vaccinated are exempt from weekly diagnostic testing.
“Members of the university community who have been fully vaccinated are able to upload an image of the vaccination record card in order to receive exemption from required weekly diagnostic testing,” Robbins said.
From March 4 to March 13, the UA administered 13,084 COVID-19 tests, which resulted in 25 positives — a positivity rate of 0.2%.
The COVID-19 rate of transmission rose last week to 0.75 in the university zip-code area, up from 0.61 the previous week.
Task force Director Dr. Richard Carmona did not express concern about this minor increase in the Rt value but noted that the transmission rate is much better than it was compared to the spikes that the area experienced over the summer.
“Some of you will remember we were up to two and a half — close to three at one point when the cases were spreading very frequently — but what this tells us is all of the public health practices that we've put into play, the best practices in public health that we speak about every week, are working,” Carmona said. “We’ve decreased transmissibility and it's allowing us to open up a little bit more, as the president has already alluded to.”
The Campus Area Response Team was deployed to seven incidents of large gatherings last week, down from 11 incidents the previous week. One of these incidents was a gathering of 100 or more individuals.
Near the end of the team’s presentation, Robbins expressed some of his hopes for the university community going forward.
“We hope by the summer,” Robbins said, “everyone who wants a vaccine can get it, and the other thing I'm very optimistic about is that it allows us the opportunity to look forward to the fall term and hope that we can have everyone back in in-person classes.”
The VUSU team will meet again next Monday, March 22.
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