Boston College has experienced a steady decrease in positive COVID-19 cases on campus this week, following a spike of 73 cases last week (September 7-13) that raised concerns throughout the BC community.

University Health Services (UHS) has conducted 3,465 COVID-19 tests thus far this week, with a total of 15 positive cases. By contrast, the University had 22 positive cases on September 8, and 21 cases on September 9, an increase, UHS officials said, that was attributable to several off-campus gatherings where students did not wear masks or practice physical distancing.

University Health Services expects to have conducted more that 4,000 tests by the end of today. They will report weekly and cumulative totals tomorrow via the Reopening Boston College website

The University increased its testing capacity this week, in light of last week’s increase in positive cases. Since testing began on August 16, the University has had a total of 122 positive tests, including 120 undergrads. By contrast, Boston University has reported 102 positive cases, Providence College 107, Northeastern University 54, and University of Notre Dame 675.

Currently, there are 85 BC undergraduates in isolation--34 in isolation housing at the Hotel Boston in Brighton, and 51 recovering at home. Thirty-five undergraduates have recovered and returned to normal activities. University administrators say that they have ample space for contact and isolation purposes, and can access beds at Pine Manor College.

“Last week’s spike in cases was concerning to all of us,” said Director of University Health Services Dr. Douglas Comeau. “But the numbers have steadily decreased each day since, and we believe that downward trend will continue as a result of extensive contact tracing efforts.”

Comeau said that Boston College is working closely in its contact tracing with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Contact Tracing Collaborative (CTC) and the departments of health in Boston, Newton, and Brookline. The Boston Globe had erroneously reported on September 15 that the state was “taking over” BC’s contact tracing efforts, but issued a correction later that day.  Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker called University President William P. Leahy, S.J., to clarify that he wanted BC to work collaboratively with the CTC, in light of BC’s connections to the three communities of Boston, Newton and Brookline.

Read an excerpt from Governor Baker's September 15 press conference here.

The University continues to conduct contact tracing along with these entities. As of September 14, 74 of the 104 positive cases on campus were identified through the University’s contact tracing efforts.

University Health Services, working with Information Technology Services, said that it would restate weekly undergraduate test totals on the Reopening BC website today to be consistent with The Broad Institute data collection process. The restated undergraduate test numbers do not affect cumulative totals that have been provided or the overall positivity rate.

UHS also announced that it would increase its asymptomatic testing, beginning next week, to Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays throughout the semester, all in the MAC Courts in the Margot Connell Recreation Center, in addition to its daily symptomatic testing conducted through University Health Services and The Broad Institute. The University expects to conduct more than 5,000 tests in the coming week.


University Communications / September 2020