UCSD reports COVID-19 positivity rate below 1%

Written by Hannah Schmidtler

UC San Diego reports a less than 1% positivity rate among its students, far better than the 12% positivity rate in San Diego County. UC San Diego leaders accredited their success at keeping virus transmission low to their Return to Learn program, which they used to set up preemptive measures to detect and mitigate the spread of Covid-19. UC San Diego has 8,721 students currently living on campus. They have set up 600 beds for isolation.

Cases at UC San Diego have been steadily declining. Currently, there are only 2-5 cases reported per day—this a significant decrease from the week of Jan. 4th, when 94 students tested positive in a week.

To slow virus transmission, UC San Diego instituted regular testing and strict contact tracing. In the New Year, the campus increased testing from bi-monthly to weekly and instituted several test dispensers across campus. UCSD also plans to increase its wastewater early detection system from 76 samplers to 200 by the end of the spring term.

Through investigation of positive cases on campus, it was discovered that 83% of positive cases were from infections that were contracted during Christmas break. Upon returning to the campus, students were required to take a COVID test the same day, as well as a test on day five and once again on day 10.

Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said, “Adaptability and innovation in our planning set UC San Diego apart from other universities during this latest COVID-19 surge . . . Testing protocols continue to evolve in response to community conditions, what we learn through practice, and what our predictive models tell us.”