After a week of expanded asymptomatic testing, Boston College has seen a decrease in positive tests following a concerning rise in cases earlier this month. As of Sept. 25, BC administered over 6,500 tests to undergraduates last week—more than double the amount of tests administered the previous week and triple the amount of tests administered the week before that. Of these tests, 0.33% (25 total tests) came back positive, which is a far cry from the 73 positive tests BC saw three weeks ago. This puts BC at over 25,000 undergraduate tests performed, with 150 total undergraduate positive cases, of which 120 have recovered.
The administration has also addressed a major concern among the student body, with employees of the Margot Connell Recreation Center now receiving weekly tests due to the job’s high risk nature. Kristen Bayreuther, MCAS ’23, feels more at ease at her job in the Rec Center, explaining, “I’m relieved to be tested weekly now, especially after seeing so many people on campus and in the gym not properly wearing their masks and not wiping down equipment.”
It’s no surprise that BC was quick to triumphantly publish its statistics in a piece on Friday, praising its “aggressive” surveillance as the reason the vast majority of the cases were found and kept under control. BC now sees itself as more comparable to Northeastern and Boston University, with 77 and 115 total positive cases respectively. Conveniently, the report leaves out that both universities have conducted around 150,000 total tests each—six times the number of tests conducted by BC.
The BC report refuted the claims that the Massachusetts government was “taking over” contract tracing, stating instead that BC "continues to work closely in its contact tracing with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Contact Tracing Collaborative."
Ultimately, BC deserves recognition for the quick turn around and handling of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, which could have evolved into a much more troubling situation. Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island is seeing an outbreak of over 170 COVID-19 cases linked to one off-campus gathering. State and local officials in the city are now requesting the school switch to fully online instruction as the outbreak continues to adversely affect Rhode Island. Students there today entered a second week of quarantine as the administration attempts to find ways to prevent large off-campus gatherings in the future, such as the one that caused their outbreak and the one to which BC’s recent uptick in cases was attributed.