COVID-19 response weekly update: COVID-19 testing and CDC updates

COVID-19 response weekly update

October 26, 2020

Dear colleagues,

This week I have updates on COVID-19 testing and updated CDC guidelines on close contacts.

Testing. Over the last seven days, we tested about 4,800 people. Two people tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Rice’s testing statistics, along with isolation and quarantine data, can be found on the COVID-19 website: If you haven’t reviewed the site recently, we have added some information; please scroll down through the bottom of the page to view the additions.

This week, we’re testing at our intended regular capacity of 1,000 PCR tests a day. We’ve been contacting the people we hope to test every week (based on return-to-work plans, grad student surveys and on-campus instructors identified by the registrar). But if you’ve not been contacted for a test and for any reason you feel you should be tested (if you’re on campus and having sufficient contact with other people, for example), you should sign up at (enter the security code you received in your email). Please be sure to confirm you’ve provided all the requested information correctly when you sign up for a test appointment (especially your birthdate, email and NetID). You should receive a confirmation email shortly after scheduling your test. You must bring your confirmation email with a QR code (either on your phone or a printed copy) to check in to your testing appointment. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact because that means there’s probably an error that may also delay the delivery of your test results.

Updated CDC Contact Tracing Guidelines. This week, the CDC updated the guidelines about close contacts. The updated guidelines state a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. The best way to avoid close contact is to maintain physical distance from others at all times. Wearing masks and frequent handwashing will also slow the spread of the virus.

Kevin Kirby
Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee
Vice President for Administration