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Boston College corrects error in testing data

Boston College performed nearly 600 fewer COVID-19 tests on undergraduates last week than initially reported, the school said on Wednesday after it corrected the data error and noted the change on its website.

The school revised down the number of test performed on undergrads during the week of Sept. 7 to 13 by 596 to 2,051, according to the dashboard.

The revision was first reported by The Heights newspaper at Boston College.

A Boston College spokesman said the “data error” was caused by human error on Saturday, when the number was recorded, and it was corrected on Tuesday.


In addition, Boston College added six new positive undergraduate cases to its tally for last week, bringing that number to 73.

Jack Dunn, the BC spokesman, said those cases were reported late due to the timing of the results received from The Broad Institute, which analyzes swabs for BC and many other colleges in the region. Results can arrive up to 26 hours after the test is taken, Dunn said.

Boston College tests students less frequently than some other colleges in the area. Boston University and Northeastern University test most students twice per week. BC performs about 1,500 randomized tests of students each week.

State contact tracers this week began a partnership with the college to aid in tracking close contacts of those who’ve tested positive for the virus, amid concerns from students and local elected officials that the school is not equipped to do so on its own.

Dunn also explained a third discrepancy in numbers reported on the dashboard. The total number of tests performed on undergraduates listed at the bottom of the page, 16,084, does not match the sum of the number of tests administered each week, which totals 15,070.

Dunn said the larger number represents the total number of tests performed while the smaller one represents unique students tested.


Laura Krantz can be reached at laura.krantz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurakrantz.