October 1, 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: 09/23/21 - 09/29/21


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 (Sept. 16 to 22) were completed, we ended up with a total of 21 asymptomatic positives out of a total of 18,350 tests, for a positivity rate of 0.11%, which was a substantial decrease from the prior two weeks. The past week has seen further declines in positivity, with a total -- as of this writing -- of 12 asymptomatic positives and a campus positivity rate of less than one-tenth of a percent. This represents tremendous progress compared to the beginning of the semester, and all members of the community should be proud of the steps taken as individuals and collectively to reduce the risk of transmission. Please continue to exercise caution and practice basic and prudent public health measures -- wearing masks indoors, keeping contacts to a minimum and avoiding crowded indoor gatherings without masks.

The percentage of total employees (faculty and staff) who have uploaded their vaccination cards is 96.0% (up from 95.8% last week). The percentage of the total student population is 98.9% (up from 98.8% last week). 

At Brown, since launching our routine testing program in August 2020, we have conducted 524,220 asymptomatic tests to date. A total of 17,927 individuals have been tested in that timeframe, and the total number of positive test results is 784 (up 12 this week from a corrected total of 772 last week) -- a prevalence rate of 4.4%.

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. 23, through Wednesday, Sept. 29:

-- There have been 12 positive asymptomatic test results: 3 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 0.08%, and the student asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.06%. The Rhode Island positivity rate during this same time period was 2.25%.

-- The average turnaround time for asymptomatic test results during this period was approximately 25 hours.

-- University Health Services (UHS) conducted 50 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 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 (studenttesting@brown.edu), and faculty and staff can contact the employee testing support team (employeetestinguhr@brown.edu).


Russell C. Carey
Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy