News, On Campus, Top Story, Coronavirus Updates

BC Experiences Delayed Test Results Day After COVID-19 Spike

After an issue with equipment at the Broad Institute, which processes some of Boston College’s COVID-19 tests, members of the BC community are experiencing a delay in receiving their test results, according to an update on the University’s COVID-19 dashboard

With the University testing all undergraduates this week prior to Thanksgiving, the delay in testing potentially affects thousands of students at BC. BC only reported 3,682 undergraduate tests by the time it announced the delay on Thursday, while approximately 8,600 undergraduates returned to campus for the semester. 

Individuals whose COVID-19 tests were received by the institute from the early afternoon on Wednesday through midday Thursday are subject to the delay. The issue has since been resolved, Doug Comeau, director of University Health Services, said in an email to those whose test results are delayed, but the results will still take longer than the usual six to 26 hours to arrive. 

The dashboard update also noted that the delayed test results will appear in Friday’s update.

The delay comes a day after the University experienced its largest spike in positive cases since early September, with .96 percent of the undergraduate tests in the Wednesday COVID-19 update coming back positive. BC reported 23 new cases out of 2,400 undergraduate tests in its dashboard update on Wednesday.

BC did not update the numbers on its COVID-19 dashboard on Thursday, so it is unclear whether yesterday’s spike in positivity will continue as more test results come in. 

In the email sent to those awaiting results, Comeau urged individuals to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines until they receive a negative result.

“To be safe, it is imperative you maintain appropriate physical and social distance, wear a mask or face covering, and minimize contact with others until your test results confirm you are negative for COVID-19,” the email reads.         

The cases released on Tuesday brought the week’s undergraduate positivity rate to .78 percent, up from .58 percent the day before. The seven-day average undergraduate positivity rate more than doubled from the week before, from .20 to .53 percent.

Fifty-six undergraduates were in isolation housing as of Wednesday, the largest number since Sept. 19. Of the 56 undergraduates in isolation, 43 were in BC isolation housing and 13 were isolating at home.

Wednesday’s dashboard update also reported that 249 undergraduates had recovered, which is seven fewer than the University had reported as recovered the day before.

The spike in cases of COVID-19 at BC comes amid an increase in cases across the Commonwealth and in the Boston area. The Massachusetts positivity rate came in at 3.17 percent on Wednesday.

Boston’s positivity rate for the week of Nov. 6 through Nov. 12 was 9.6 percent, up from 7.9 percent the week before. According to today’s weekly state dashboard, Boston is in the moderate-risk category for COVID-19, while Newton is in the low-risk category.

Boston reported an average of 31.5 daily cases per 100,000 residents between Nov. 1 and Nov. 14—up from 23.1 in the previous two-week period. Newton reported 9.1 cases per 100,000 residents during this same period, up from an average of 6.2.

Featured Image by Nicole Varga / For The Heights

November 20, 2020

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