University status update: Arizonans 16+ eligible for vaccination, Phase Three transition, minor increase in COVID-19 transmission


Screenshot of the virtual university status update team, which met Monday, March 22, to discuss new COVID-19 vaccine eligibility.

The University of Arizona’s COVID-19 virtual university status update team met on Monday to discuss the transition to Phase 3 of reentry and new COVID-19 data.

The university will continue in Phase 2 of reentry this week. Classes of 50 or fewer students designated as ‘in-person’ or ‘flex in-person’ are permitted to meet for in-person instruction.

Next week, the university will transition to 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.

Even as more students return to in-person instruction, President Dr. Robert C. Robbins cautioned viewers that the fight against COVID-19 still isn’t over. 


“I just want to stay on the message, even though we're making great progress – I mean really great progress – in the fight against COVID-19,” Robbins said. “We cannot let our guard down. If you've tuned into what's going on in South Beach for instance during spring break, just remember this virus is still very, very transmissible and very deadly.”

The UA has now administered a grand total of 80,220 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of those vaccinated at the UA Point of Distribution, 20.5% self-identify as Hispanic or Latinx and 15.3% reside in Pima County.

VUSU March 22 vax numbers

Screenshot of the University of Arizona's recent COVID-19 vaccine data, reflecting that the university administered over 80,000 vaccines at the time of the press conference.

On Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced that state-operated vaccination sites will be open to Arizonans 16 and older beginning on Wednesday, March 24.

“Our goal has been and remains to get vaccine into the community as quickly, widely and equitably as possible,” Ducey said. “Given a thorough review of vaccination data, anticipated vaccine supply, and current demand among prioritized groups, now is the time to take this critical next step.”

RELATED: UA vaccination site needs continued support from community

From March 10 to March 19, the UA administered 13,906 COVID-19 tests, which resulted in 39 positives – a positivity rate of 0.3%.

VUSU March 22 COVID-19 test results

Screenshot of the University of Arizona's recent COVID-19 testing results, which reflected a 0.3% positivity rate.

The COVID-19 rate of transmission remained the same as the previous week, 0.75, in the university zip-code area. The Rt on the county level, however, increased to 0.80 from 0.73 the previous week.

VUSU March 22 Rt values

Screenshot of the UA's rate of transmission, which remained consistent over the past week.

Like last week, task force Director Dr. Richard Carmona again did not express concern about this minor increase in the Rt value but echoed his statement from last week regarding the importance of following public health guidelines.

“Rt values are staying below one which is very good,” Carmona said. “This tells us the public health guidelines that we are harping on every single week are working because that 85719 zip code is the community around us. It's not only us as a university but the community that we interface with on a daily basis and the county that we interface with. Overall, we're doing well we can still do better we must do better in order to keep those Rt values down.”

The Campus Area Response Team was deployed to eight incidents of large gatherings last week, up from seven incidents the previous week. One of these incidents was a gathering of 100 or more individuals.

VUSU March 22 CART deployments

Screenshot of task force Director Dr. Richard Carmona reviewing recent CART deployments, which increased slightly since last week.

Carmona mentioned that the UA is collaborating with external organizations to collect this data and shut down large gatherings.

“A lot of the information we get is from the community,” Carmona said. “When they see these groups forming, the high-rise managers and owners, who have been great partners as well, work with us to make sure that these types of large groups don't get together, and we’re working with UAPD, the Tucson police department, the Dean of Students and the CART teams to make sure we keep transmissibility down by preventing these large groups from coming together.”

The status update team will meet again next Monday, March 29.

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