University Health Services reported low positivity rates for its COVID-19 testing again this week (October 12–18), with a total of 21 positive cases reported through October 16, out of 6,791 tests performed, including 20 positives among undergrads out of 5,478 undergrad tests, resulting in a weekly community positivity rate of 0.3%. The Massachusetts positivity rate stands at 1.3%.

This week's numbers represent a slight increase in positive cases over last week, mirroring reports at peer institutions and cities and towns across the Commonwealth.

Currently, there are 28 BC undergraduates in isolation—21 in University isolation housing and seven recovering at home. A total of 179 undergraduates have recovered and returned to normal activities.

Since testing began on August 16, the University has conducted 59,121 tests of BC community members, including 41,445 tests of undergraduates, with a total of 214 positive cases, including 207 undergrads for a cumulative positivity rate of 0.36 percent. By comparison, Boston University has reported 156 total positive cases, Providence College 247, Northeastern University 128, and University of Notre Dame 873.

“We tested all BC undergraduates this week as part of our ongoing effort to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Director of University Health Services Dr. Douglas Comeau. “We have good momentum, and want to continue that momentum throughout the remainder of the fall semester, which will require all of us to avoid large gatherings, practice physical distancing, wear face masks, and wash our hands frequently. We are grateful for the efforts of all members of the BC community in following our testing, quarantine, and isolation protocols.”

This week, the University surveyed all undergraduate students to gain an understanding of their preferences for the remainder of the semester after the Thanksgiving break. The survey asked students to state their preference between returning home for Thanksgiving and completing their studies remotely, or allowing students to remain in-state (either at home or on campus) to complete the semester at Boston College. The University intends to announce its decision next week.

In addition to daily symptomatic testing conducted through University Health Services and The Broad Institute, asymptomatic testing was performed this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in the MAC Courts in the Margot Connell Recreation Center. Testing results are posted the following day upon receipt from The Broad Institute on the Reopening BC website:

The weekly community test totals and community positivity rates since testing began are as follows:

•    7,681 tests Week of August 16-23. Positivity Rate 0.04%
•    10,127 tests Week of August 24-30. Positivity Rate 0.08%
•    4,322 tests Week of August 31-September 6. Positivity Rate 0.60%
•    2,972 tests Week of September 9-13. Positivity Rate 2.46%
•    4,639 tests Week of September 14-20. Positivity Rate 0.37%
•    8,359 tests Week of September 21-27. Positivity Rate 0.49%
•    7,040 tests Week of September 28-October 4. Positivity Rate 0.18%
•    7,187 tests Week of October 5-11. Positivity rate 0.16%

University Communications / October 16, 2020