August 6, 2021
Russell C. Carey, ​Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy
Tags Undergraduates Grad and Medical Students Faculty and Staff

To the Brown Community: COVID-19 Testing Update: 07/29/21 - 08/4/21




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:

If you have not already done so, please review carefully the communication that President Paxson and I sent to the campus on Tuesday for important and updated information regarding mask-wearing requirements, phased return to on-site work for employees currently working remotely, and new testing requirements. The communication can be read here:

We also notified the community this week that the COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy has been revised and updated to reflect current public health conditions and guidance and relevant policies on campus. All members of the Brown community as well as visitors and guests must be familiar with and comply with all aspects of the policy. Please review the updated policy carefully as it details what is expected and required of all members of the community to help keep the campus and surrounding Providence community healthy and safe as we prepare for and begin the 2021-22 academic year. The COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy can be reviewed here:

We did see a modest increase in asymptomatic positive test results this week -- 4, compared to 0 or 1 for each of the past four weeks. Given the circulation of the Delta variant in the Rhode Island and Providence community, that is to be expected, and as we increase testing in the coming weeks we will likely see more positive results. It is abundantly clear that vaccination against COVID-19 remains highly effective, including against the Delta variant, and the most important thing we can do for our own health and the health of others is to get vaccinated. If you have not already done so, please upload your vaccination card. Detailed instructions are available on the Verify Your Vaccination page on the Healthy Brown website:

The percentage of total employees (faculty and staff) who have uploaded their vaccination cards is 94.8% (up from 93.9% last week). The percentage of the total student population is 93.8% (up from 88.4% last week).

At Brown, since launching our routine testing program for the fall term on Aug. 24, we have conducted 445,944 asymptomatic tests to date. A total of 12,288 individuals have been tested in that timeframe, and the total number of positive test results is 579 (up 4 this week from a total of 575 last week) -- a prevalence rate of 4.7%.

Here are highlights of the testing program over the last seven days, Thursday, July 29, through Wednesday, Aug. 4:

-- There have been 4 positive asymptomatic test results: 2 from employees and 2 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 1.15%, and the student asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.68%. The Rhode Island positivity rate during this same time period was 3.52%.

-- The average turnaround time for asymptomatic test results during this period was approximately 11 hours.

-- University Health Services (UHS) conducted 62 symptomatic tests of students. Of these, less than 5 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 3.

-- 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.

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 (, and faculty and staff can contact the employee testing support team (


Russell C. Carey
Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy