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VP Carey: Brown sees most positive COVID-19 cases ‘in a three day time period to date’

Total positives from asymptomatic testing rose to 37

Eight University community members tested positive for COVID-19 from Oct. 21 to Oct. 23, the most “in a three day time period to date,” according to an Oct. 24 email from Executive Vice President of Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91. This is also the most positive test results the University has seen in a one week period since the asymptomatic test program began.

But “these results do not represent an emergency based on public health standards,” Carey wrote. 

The recent increase brings the total number of positive cases from asymptomatic testing to 37. 

Meanwhile, at the state and national levels, “there are very serious concerns about the trends and positivity rates,” Carey said. “We are going to continue to emphasize the messages the governor is emphasizing about wearing masks, social distancing (and) keeping gathering sizes low.”

The governor asked for increased vigilance with “small family gatherings, small gatherings with friends (and) work environments,” Carey said. In these places, “people know each other, they trust each other, they take their mask off, and they are in close proximity to each other,” he added. “Somebody could be asymptomatic in that setting but still transmit the virus.” 

Raimondo’s messaging on COVID-19 precautions is consistent with the University’s public health campaign, Carey said during a conversation with The Herald Oct. 22, before his email announcement.

“There is nothing that we had to do that we weren’t already doing from the last week or so of communications from the state,” Carey said.

The governor asked for increased vigilance with “small family gatherings, small gatherings with friends (and) work environments,” Carey said. In these places, “people know each other, they trust each other, they take their mask off, and they are in close proximity to each other … somebody could be asymptomatic in that setting but still transmit the virus,” Carey added.

“The most important step we can all take to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 is to wear a mask whenever you are with other people beyond your immediate household or pod,” Carey reiterated in his Oct. 24 email. “Mask wearing is a simple but critical step to prevent the spread of this virus.

University students can practice the same vigilance by strictly limiting social interaction to pods and maintaining mask-wearing during class and during passing conversations, which are the “best practices that students and faculty are already following very carefully,” Carey said. 

With Election Day coming up, there are options for emergency voting at the Providence City Hall. Voting is considered an essential off-campus activity, “but people should wear a mask and maintain social distancing while they do that,” Carey said.

In addition, the University will be hosting a polling location on campus in the Pizzitola Center on Election Day. “We are working very closely with the city to make sure that is conducted safely,” Carey said, emphasizing alternative ways of voting safely, such as voting by mail and early voting.

Gathering size limitations will still apply on Election Day. “This is not an election where we can host a watch party in Leung Gallery, and that’s unfortunate but (those are) the circumstances that we are in,” Carey said. 

Representatives from campus life, the college and other offices on campus will be available on election night and into the early morning to “provide guidance, support, and, if people are gathering, remind them of safety regulations particularly with regards to mask wearing and social distancing.”

-Kamran King contributed reporting

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that eight university students tested positive for COVID-19. In fact, eight university community members tested positive. The Herald regrets the error.



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