UBC zoology says there's a coronavirus case on campus

Mar 21 2020, 9:39 am

The Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) says there’s a COVID-19 case that’s been detected on campus, although university officials have not confirmed the institution’s first case of the virus.

A March 20 COVID-19 update posted to the Department of Zoology’s website gives notice of the case, but offers few details:

“There is an active COVID-19 case on campus, someone from Student Health,” the post read. “The health authority has been in touch with contacts with appropriate advice.”

If accurate, this would be the university’s first case of the novel coronavirus.

But by 9:50 am Saturday morning, the post had been taken down.

UBC spokesperson Matthew Ramsey would neither confirm nor deny the presence of a coronavirus case on campus in a phone interview with Daily Hive.

He said it’s the responsibility of Vancouver Coastal Health to follow up with all people who are tested for COVID-19 and trace their contacts.

Ramsey said he didn’t know why the UBC Department of Zoology said there was a coronavirus case on campus. He also didn’t say whether the university would notify the public if there was a case on campus, saying only that it would follow VCH’s advice.

VCH spokesperson Matt Kieltyka said the health authority does not speak to specific cases and would only notify the public if it’s having trouble identifying close contacts.

UBC hasn’t posted anything confirming a coronavirus case on campus to its main COVID-19 page, but it has removed a paragraph stating there are no cases on campus.

Earlier this month, the university cancelled all in-person classes and urged international and domestic students to return home. Most post-secondary institutions across the country have cancelled in-person classes, although many students still need to complete assignments and attend lectures online.