Dear Brown Community Members,
Below, please find our weekly update on Brown’s testing program for COVID-19, with additional information and context to complement the data shared via our public dashboard:
Prior to reviewing the data from the past week, please read the following update with important information regarding COVID-19 vaccination eligibility in Rhode Island:
Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced earlier this week that all Rhode Islanders age 75 and older can now register for an appointment at one of two state-run vaccination sites. They additionally announced that beginning Monday, Feb. 22, scheduling will open to any Rhode Islander age 65 and older. Links to the announcement and the registration site for the state-run vaccination sites follow below:
Following the state’s announcement, we provided this information directly to Brown faculty and staff who are in these eligibility groups. We now share this news with the campus community more broadly so faculty, staff and students can inform friends and family members who may now be eligible. The faster and wider vaccines get distributed in Providence and Rhode Island, the sooner we will be able to consider a return to more normal operations on the Brown campus. Our current understanding is that if you are employed in Rhode Island and a member of an vaccine-eligible group, you should be able to get the vaccine in Rhode Island — however, if you are a resident of Massachusetts, Connecticut or other states, there may be options for you in those states as well. Links to vaccine information for all three states follow below, and the Rhode Island page also has information about vaccination sites at local pharmacies and cities and towns:
At Brown, since launching our routine testing program for the fall term on Aug. 24, we have conducted 241,273 asymptomatic tests to date. A total of 10,385 individuals have been tested in that timeframe, and the total number of positive test results is 343 (up 1 this week this week from a total of 342 last week) — a prevalence rate of 3.3%.
Here are highlights of the testing program over the last seven days, Thursday, Feb. 11, through Wednesday, Feb. 17:
-- There has been 1 positive asymptomatic test result, from an employee, and none from students. As a reminder, our student testing program includes undergraduate, graduate and medical students.
-- Over the past week, the employee asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.04%, and the student asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.00%. The Rhode Island positivity rate during this same time period was 2.47%.
-- The average turnaround time for asymptomatic test results during this period was 22 hours.
-- University Health Services conducted 20 symptomatic tests of students. Of these, none were positive for COVID-19. Exact results for symptomatic students who are tested by UHS are not reported (and do not appear on the public dashboard) to protect the confidentiality of the small numbers of students who are tested. We will report on ranges and any concerns regarding trends in these weekly summaries.
-- The University does not directly test symptomatic employees, as they receive health care from their individual providers. We do monitor employee absences due to COVID-19 — which can be for a range of reasons, including care of a child or family member or quarantine due to a known exposure — and the number of such absences for the most recent full work week was 6.
-- It is important to note that with regard to all positive cases, we have taken action consistent with our contact tracing protocols, COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy, isolation and quarantine procedures, and other measures outlined in Brown’s Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21.
As a reminder, if you are currently being tested once a week and would like to change to twice a week, you are welcome to do so. Students can email [email protected] to make that change. Faculty and staff can email [email protected] for guidance on how to increase their testing frequency.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. For questions or support regarding the testing program, students can contact the student testing support team (401-863-6500, [email protected]), and faculty and staff can contact the employee testing support team (401-368-4828, [email protected]).
Russell C. Carey
Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy