News, On Campus, Top Story, Coronavirus Updates

Rate of New COVID-19 Cases Falls in Week Five

Last week, Boston College reported its lowest undergraduate positivity rate for COVID-19 since classes began, as of its Friday update of the COVID-19 dashboard. The University reported nine positives out of 4,991 undergraduate tests on Friday, an undergraduate positivity rate of 0.18 percent. 

The University reported lower rates—.06 percent and .09 percent, respectively—during the two weeks of entry testing of returning students, faculty, and staff prior to the start of the semester.

BC conducted 1,772 fewer tests last week than it did the week prior, with 1,820 fewer tests for undergraduates and 48 more tests of non-undergraduates.

Since the University reported a spike in cases during the second week of the semester, with the number of undergraduates testing positive for COVID-19 more than doubling and the undergraduate positivity rate coming in at 3.53 percent, the positivity rate has remained relatively low.

BC reported that 43 undergraduates were in isolation as of Friday—with 17 in isolation housing and 26 isolating at home—and that 131 undergraduates had recovered.

The University reported that it had conducted 44,687 total tests, with 177 positive cases, through Thursday. These numbers include 30,323 undergraduate tests, with 174 undergraduate cases.

BC also adjusted its guest policy this week, restricting the number of allowed guests to one in traditional-style rooms and two in apartments and suites. Previously, students could have one guest for each resident currently in the room, which could reach up to 18 students at a time in nine-person suites.

The University said in the initial announcement of the policy that it was based on infection data. Associate Vice President of Residential Life George Arey and Dean of Student Conduct Corey Kelly said in a follow-up email to students Friday that the decision came after discussions with state and local officials concerned about the number of cases at BC and other Boston area colleges this semester, along with the recent rise in cases in Boston and Massachusetts.

“The policy also aligns us more closely with area colleges and universities, most of which have had ‘no guest’ policies in their residence halls since the start of the semester,” the email reads. “Given the evolving nature of the pandemic, we hope that we can revisit this policy when the numbers improve throughout the region.”

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Editor

October 5, 2020