Results from the first week of Covid-19 testing ramp-up
August 20, 2020
To the MIT community,
This week, as part of our efforts to ensure that our Covid-19 testing program is at full strength by the time undergraduate students return to campus, we have administered more than 6,000 tests to members of our community already working or living on campus, including grad students, staff, and faculty.
With MIT Medical ramping up to some 300 tests an hour in two trailers, the average time to take the test has fallen to less than 20 minutes. The tests have been processed at the Broad Institute with an average turn-around time of less than 24 hours. Based on these results, I am pleased to say that MIT’s testing process has thus far proved to be both robust and resilient.
Most importantly, it has worked. In the last three days MIT Medical has identified three members of the campus community who have tested positive for Covid-19. All three have been notified and are now in isolation, and contact tracing and notification are well underway.
As a reminder, MIT Medical notifies all individuals who may have been exposed to positive cases, and offers guidance and support on proper next steps. If you have not heard from MIT Medical, you can presume that you are not at risk in these cases.
While we’d rather that no one test positive for Covid through this system, we should all get used to the fact that there will be cases in our community, just as there are in the greater Boston area and throughout the country. Our testing program is designed to identify cases quickly – both to safeguard the larger community and to support affected individuals with the care they need. The system is already enabling those of us who must come to campus to more safely pursue our jobs, research, and academics.
To everyone who took their required tests this week, thank you. Your commitment to MIT’s testing and health protocols is the backbone of our effort to limit the spread of Covid. It is critical that every one of us continues to wear masks, distance, attest to our health using the Covid Pass app, and get our regular tests. And, I might add, to answer our phones! Picking up calls is essential to our contact tracing and notification efforts.
As we continue testing on campus, especially with the arrival of some of our seniors and other undergrad and graduate students later next week, we will surely identify more positive cases. We will share the daily results of our testing program on the MIT Medical site, which will be updated each day at approximately 3 p.m.
Stay tuned for more communications from MIT over the next several days as we continue to get set for September. We have challenges in front of us, but if we continue to stand by the science and model the solutions, we’ll be doing ourselves and the larger community a lasting service.
Cecilia Stuopis, MD