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News, University News

Brown COVID-19 testing update: 1 confirmed positive case in last week

Prevalence rate on campus 0.4 percent since Aug. 24

By
Metro Editor
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

As of this week, 62,490 COVID-19 tests taken of University community members have resulted in 27 positive cases, only one of which was recorded this week.

As COVID-19 cases rise nationally, the University continues to report scant occurrences of the virus on College Hill. The past week has seen one confirmed positive case out of 9,250 asymptomatic tests completed, according to the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

This gives the University community a seven-day positivity rate of 0.0 percent, compared to an average 1.8 percent for Rhode Island as a whole, between Oct. 6 and Oct. 12. 

Since the testing program’s start Aug. 24, 62,490 tests have been completed and 27 total positive cases have been identified. Of those, however, three were positive results for individuals who were still shedding virus particles from a previous COVID-19 infection, according to an Oct. 8 Today@Brown announcement.

The update also clarified that 10 cases were likely a result of “research laboratory derived contamination,” and could potentially be traced back to individuals who were working on research related to SARS-CoV-2.

All students, faculty and staff currently on campus are required to get tested either once or twice a week, depending on their level of regular contact with community members, The Herald previously reported. Undergraduate students who are not studying remotely are required to be tested at least twice a week.

Despite a current low rate of prevalence, the University is prepared to deal with a larger number of students in isolation or quarantine. Isolation and quarantine capacity for the University remains high; less than 5 percent of isolation rooms and about 8 percent of quarantine rooms were being used as of Oct. 1, The Herald previously reported.

While the University’s numbers are low, nearby Providence College has reported 241 total positive cases at press time, many of which occurred during a September outbreak.

The Providence Journal reported that Gov. Gina Raimondo pointed to partying and “selfishness” as complicit in the outbreak. Case counts at Providence College have remained comparatively low through the start of October, with only 21 confirmed cases since Oct. 1.

Harvard has administered 14,316 total tests with 61 positive cases, while Yale has administered 9,704 tests in the last seven days alone, resulting in six positive cases.

With midterm season in full swing, flu shots commencing and a gray Providence fall starting to set in, the University will continue the steady march of tests and advocacy for caution.

Clarification: A previous version of this article stated that individuals were working with SARS-CoV-2. It is more correct to say the individuals were working on research related to SARS-CoV-2.

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