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:
The Broad Institute, where samples from our testing program are processed, has seen an increase in tests being conducted this past week as students return to colleges and universities across our region. As a result, the processing turnaround has slowed a bit the past few days, and as of this writing not all of the tests conducted on the last day of our reporting week -- Wednesday, Sept. 1 -- have been completed. This update includes the information available as of Thursday evening, and the public dashboard will continue to be updated with the most current data as tests are processed and the results returned.
The number of tests conducted at Brown increased again this week (5,816 this week compared to 4,112 last week), and the number of positive test results increased only slightly (11 this week compared to 10 last week, so far). The positivity rate on campus remains very low, and there continues to be no indication of community transmission or spread of the virus on campus.
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:
Important changes will take place next with regard to the testing sites on College Hill. The testing site at OMAC will continue operations through Tuesday, Sept. 7, and will then close at the end of that day. Beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 8 (the first day of classes), two new testing sites on College Hill will open in place of OMAC -- (1) Alumnae Hall, lower level (Pembroke Campus), 194 Meeting Street, and (2) Andrews House (across from Keeney Quadrangle, former location of Health Services), 13 Brown Street. Limited short-term parking while actively being tested is available behind Andrews House (enter from Charlesfield Street) for those who may need to drive to the site. The testing site in the Jewelry District at One Davol Square will continue as currently operating. Community members will see the two new College Hill sites available in the Verily web application for appointments to be scheduled on Sept. 8 and after, and you can schedule at whichever site is most convenient for you. Further information regarding the testing sites and operating hours can be found online at:
The percentage of total employees (faculty and staff) who have uploaded their vaccination cards is 95.0% (compared to 95.1% last week). The percentage of the total student population is 97.4% (up from 97.0% last week).
At Brown, since launching our routine testing program in August 2020, we have conducted 463,105 asymptomatic tests to date. A total of 14,618 individuals have been tested in that timeframe, and the total number of positive test results is 615 (up 11 this week from a total of 604 last week) -- a prevalence rate of 4.2%.
Here are highlights of the testing program over the last seven days, Thursday, Aug. 25, through Wednesday, Sept. 1:
-- There have been 11 positive asymptomatic test results: 2 from employees and 9 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 0.09%, and the student asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.22%. The Rhode Island positivity rate during this same time period was 3.55%.
-- The average turnaround time for asymptomatic test results during this period was approximately 22 hours.
-- University Health Services (UHS) conducted 19 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.
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 ([email protected]), and faculty and staff can contact the employee testing support team ([email protected]).
Russell C. Carey
Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy