Municipal and state officials met with Boston College leaders over the weekend to seek "immediate action" from the school amid an apparent outbreak of more than 100 COVID-19 cases since students began returning to campus.
Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, whose city is home to part of BC's campus, wrote in an email to the community Saturday that she is "gravely concerned about the transmission" of the highly infectious virus at the private university, warning that data show "viral transmission" is taking place.
"Boston College must take swift, decisive and effective action now to contain the spread of this serious infectious disease," Fuller wrote. "They must act now to protect the health of their BC community and all our Newtonians. They must act now so Newton's low positivity rate does not rise. Boston College must act now to ensure that their operations do not threaten our ability to begin to reopen Newton schools in-person, to get our residents back to work, and our restaurants, retailers and other businesses back on their feet."
Newton and Boston city officials convened a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, officials from the state Department of Public Health, and BC leaders on Saturday, Fuller wrote.
They made three specific requests of the private university, according to Fuller's account: transfer contact tracing to municipal health departments for students who live in Newton or Boston, increase testing capacity and publish daily tallies, and halt plans to stand up additional isolation or quarantine facilities in Newton for students who tested positive.
Since it started preparing for reopening on Aug. 16, BC has tested 15,084 undergraduate students and confirmed 102 cases among that group, according to statistics the school published. Another 10,000 tests BC conducted in the community yielded two other positive results.
The rate appears to be increasing, too. Last week, 67 undergraduates tested positive among a sample of 2,647.