Covid-19 Spike at Brown

On Saturday of last week, Brown University students received a campus health and safety update. The email notified students that over the past week, Brown’s COVID-19 testing program yielded eight positive test results. Three of the positive cases were university staff members. The other five were undergraduates: two who are living on-campus and three who are living off-campus. Although eight positive COVID-19 cases seems to be a small amount in the grand scheme of a typical university’s numbers, the university is still worried. These positive cases are more than the school has experienced over the time that students have been back at school. Since the undergraduate students who tested positive were in contact with other undergraduate students, there is reason to believe that a handful of positive tests will be reported in the coming week or two as a result. The school is particularly worried about this spike of cases due to the fact that COVID-19 at Brown may be mirroring that of the state, as there has been a general increase in the number of cases in Rhode Island. Ever since Providence College had a COVID-19 outbreak, Rhode Island has been on many nearby states’ quarantine lists. Unfortunately, Rhode Island has remained on these quarantine lists due to the overall increasing positivity rate statewide. 

After notifying students of these positive cases, the university reiterated the importance of wearing a mask and socializing within a reasonably sized pod. The email also stressed the importance of getting tested twice a week and filling out the symptom assessment every day. The university is nervous about the upcoming Halloween weekend. Halloween is usually one of the biggest party weekends of the year and as a result, the university is fearful that students will gather in larger groups to celebrate the holiday. However, most students are aware that this is not a normal semester and will do their best to celebrate Halloween in a safe and respectful way given the circumstances.

Overall, the positive rate at Brown is still quite low--0.15%. Nevertheless, it is important for students to continue to respect university and CDC guidelines so that this number does not get any higher. Make sure to wash your hands and wear a mask!