September 24, 2021
Russell C. Carey, ​Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy
Tags Undergraduates Grad and Medical Students Faculty and Staff

To the Brown Community: COVID-19 Testing Update: 09/16/21 - 09/22/21


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 (Sept. 9 to 15) were completed, we ended up with a total of 86 asymptomatic positives out of a total of 14,985 tests, for a positivity rate of 0.57%. As reported in other communications this week, in recent days there has been a significant decline in both the absolute number and the rate of positive asymptomatic COVID-19 cases on campus compared to the first few weeks of the semester. This includes a marked decline in positive test results among undergraduate students. This week we are reporting, as of this writing on Thursday evening, 20 asymptomatic positives out of a total of 16,751 tests, for a positivity rate of 0.12%.

The percentage of total employees (faculty and staff) who have uploaded their vaccination cards is 95.8% (up from 95.6% last week). The percentage of the total student population is 98.8% (up from 98.3% last week). 

At Brown, since launching our routine testing program in August 2020, we have conducted 508,105 asymptomatic tests to date. A total of 17,848 individuals have been tested in that timeframe, and the total number of positive test results is 771 (up 20 this week from a corrected total of 751 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. 16, through Wednesday, Sept. 22:

-- There have been 20 positive asymptomatic test results: 3 from employees and 17 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 0.08%, and the student asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.11%. The Rhode Island positivity rate during this same time period was 2.48%.

-- The average turnaround time for asymptomatic test results during this period was approximately 21 hours.

-- University Health Services (UHS) conducted 47 symptomatic tests of students. Of these, between 0 and 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 1.

-- 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