As the University of Georgia begins the second half of the fall semester, cases of COVID-19 remain at low levels. Thirty-four cases were reported for the week of Oct. 11-17, a slight increase from the previous week, but still a 93% decrease from the peak of cases reported around Labor Day. Cases continue to decline in the local community and across the state of Georgia.
The University Health Center (UHC) posted the data as part of the weekly update on its website Wednesday morning. Of the 34 cases reported in DawgCheck, 22 were students, 10 were staff members and two were faculty.
The positivity rate for UGA’s surveillance testing also remained low, with eight of 630 asymptomatic individuals testing positive, for a rate of 1.270%.
The UHC can test up to 800 individuals a day, and this service is offered free to the campus community.
“The state of Georgia continues to see declines in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, but we have not reached the levels we had before this latest COVID-19 surge,” said Dr. Shelley Nuss, campus dean of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership and co-chair of the university’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “We all need to remain vigilant and continue to practice mitigation measures like masking indoors. Seeking a vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
The University Health Center is offering COVID-19 vaccinations free of charge to faculty, staff and students and their dependents over age 16. Booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine are also available to faculty, staff, students and their eligible dependents who received their second dose at least six months ago. To date, the UHC has administered more than 27,800 vaccines to members of the UGA community.
On Oct. 15, the university drew the final 25 names in its vaccine drawing. In total, the names of 100 fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff members were selected to win $1,000 cash prizes. The $100,000 incentive program was supported by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III. The university continues to offer $20 gift cards and T-shirts for vaccinations, while supplies last.
As it did last year, UGA is maintaining a stock of rooms on- and off-campus to accommodate isolation and quarantine housing, as needed. At present, 1.6% of the housing stock is in use.
The UGA community consists of nearly 50,000 students, faculty and staff. UGA is a part of a university system of 26 members institutions and must follow the directives of the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents. The USG does not allow its institutions to enact mask or vaccine mandates, but vaccinations and the wearing of masks indoors are strongly encouraged.
The weekly DawgCheck reporting data consist of information from four sources: (1) tests conducted through UGA’s surveillance testing program; (2) symptomatic tests conducted at the University Health Center; (3) reports from Athens-area medical providers; and (4) reports of positive tests from other sources.