September 17, 2021
Russell C. Carey, Executive Vice President for Planning & Policy
Tags Undergraduates Grad and Medical Students Faculty and Staff

To the Brown Community: COVID-19 Testing Update: 09/09/21 - 09/15/21


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:

When all of the tests from last week were completed, we ended up with a total of 46 asymptomatic positives out of a total of 12,323 tests, for a positivity rate of 0.37%. This week we are reporting, as of this writing, 84 asymptomatic positives out of a total of 13,799 tests, for a positivity rate of 0.61%. As communicated earlier this week, we continue to see an increase in positive asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, primarily among undergraduate students. We expect the temporary restrictions we announced this week, including requiring twice weekly testing of all undergraduates, will help slow that increase, and we encourage all members of the community to take individual and collective steps to reduce the transmission of the virus.

Given the increased frequency of undergraduate testing, we have seen higher volume at the asymptomatic testing sites. We are taking a number of steps to increase capacity -- however, there are several ways testing program participants can help move testing along quickly and smoothly:

-- Arrive at the testing site during your designated 15-minute appointment window. Tests are scheduled in order to avoid lines and waiting -- if everyone arrives during their scheduled window, there will be minimal back-up at the sites. The noon hour on most days is particularly crowded with people coming outside of their scheduled appointment time.

-- Schedule your test, whenever possible, for Thursday through Sunday. Testing sites are open on-campus seven days a week, and testing volume is typically lower later in the week, especially on Saturday and Sunday.

-- Do not schedule tests on successive days. At least a few of the recent positives are the same individuals testing positive twice in two days, perhaps having scheduled a second test before the result of the first one came back due to a concern about a possible exposure. There is no public health reason to do this -- schedule and take your test on the frequency you have been assigned (once a week for most members of the community, twice a week for undergraduates and individuals who are not fully vaccinated).

-- Students should take care to only schedule asymptomatic test appointments at Alumnae Hall, Andrews House or One Davol Square. As indicated on the Verily site, the Health Services testing site is only to be booked with pre-approval from a Health Services provider because you are sick with COVID symptoms. If you are sick, please call Health Services at 401-863-3953 to be scheduled with a provider. If you are trying to schedule a routine asymptomatic test, please book at one of the three asymptomatic sites (Alumnae Hall, Andrews House or One Davol Square). If you do not have access to any other site besides the “Health Services By Approval Only” site, please email to check on your testing status.

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 95.6% (up from 95.5% last week). The percentage of the total student population is 98.3% (up from 97.9% last week).

At Brown, since launching our routine testing program in August 2020, we have conducted 488,736 asymptomatic tests to date. A total of 17,520 individuals have been tested in that timeframe, and the total number of positive test results is 749 (up 84 this week from a corrected total of 665 last week) -- a prevalence rate of 4.3%.

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. As of this writing, here are highlights of the testing program over the last seven days, Thursday, Sept. 9, through Wednesday, Sept. 16:

-- There have been 84 positive asymptomatic test results: 2 from employees and 82 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 0.06%, and the student asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.72%. The Rhode Island positivity rate during this same time period was 2.86%.

-- The average turnaround time for asymptomatic test results during this period was approximately 23 hours.

-- University Health Services (UHS) conducted 78 symptomatic tests of students. Of these, between 5 and 10 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 0.

-- 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