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:
We are assessing the recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding mask wearing and other health and safety measures for individuals who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. For now, however, the University’s COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy remains in full effect with no changes, including mask wearing requirements on campus. This is particularly important for members of the Brown community participating in any in-person Commencement ceremonies this weekend, which are the type of events that require masks by all attendees even under the new CDC guidance.
The CDC guidance is yet another reason to get vaccinated. As a reminder, all individuals 16 years of age and older who live, work or study in Rhode Island are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost and with no requirement for insurance. Vaccination appointments are readily available at the Dunkin Donuts Center in downtown Providence, and you can schedule at https://www.vaccinateri.org.
At Brown, since launching our routine testing program for the fall term on Aug. 24, we have conducted 378,794 asymptomatic tests to date. A total of 10,866 individuals have been tested in that timeframe, and the total number of positive test results is 560 (up 2 this week from a total of 558 last week) -- a prevalence rate of 5.2%.
Here are highlights of the testing program over the last seven days, Thursday, April 22, through Wednesday, April 28:
-- There have been 2 positive asymptomatic test results: 2 from employees, 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 0.07%, and the student asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.00%. The Rhode Island positivity rate during this same time period was 2.05%.
-- The average turnaround time for asymptomatic test results during this period was approximately 17 hours.
-- University Health Services (UHS) conducted 7 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 2.
-- 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