Reported cases of COVID-19 at the University of Georgia hit a new semester low as the university continues offering free vaccines and even more opportunities for testing ahead of the upcoming Fall Break. A total of 27 cases were reported for the week of Oct. 18-24, a 21% decrease from the previous week and 95% decrease from the peak of cases reported around Labor Day. The decline in cases reported on campus mirrors trends in the local community and across the state of Georgia.
The University Health Center posted the data as part of the weekly update on its website Wednesday morning. Of the 27 cases reported in DawgCheck, 20 were students and seven were staff members. No faculty members reported positive cases.
The positivity rate for UGA’s surveillance testing also remained low, with five of 628 asymptomatic individuals testing positive, for a rate of 0.796%. The UHC can test up to 800 individuals a day, and this service is offered free to the campus community.
Additionally, the UGA College of Public Health, in partnership with the UHC, is offering pop-up COVID-19 testing at the Tate Center on Thursday, Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. No registration is needed. More pop-up sites will be scheduled ahead of Thanksgiving and winter break.
“As we enjoy a very successful semester in the classroom and on the field and head into a well-deserved and much-needed fall break, I encourage everyone to continue taking care of each other for a safe and strong return to campus and finish to the fall semester,” said Victor K. Wilson, vice president for Student Affairs. “We still need to remain diligent with our efforts. Thus, in addition to getting vaccinated, safe travel precautions and the continued practicing of proper hand hygiene and wearing of face coverings can go a long way in our continued fight against this virus. Each of us plays an important role in keeping our families and friends, as well as our campus community, safe when we return.”
The UHC continues offering COVID-19 vaccinations free of charge to faculty, staff and students and their dependents over age 16. Booster shots 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 28,200 vaccines to members of the UGA community. The university continues to offer $20 gift cards and T-shirts for vaccinations, while supplies last.
“Surveillance testing plays an important role in preventing further spread of COVID-19, and we encourage all students, faculty and staff to take advantage of these opportunities through the Health Center and the pop-up sites ahead of the upcoming fall break,” said Jen Swails, interim executive director of the University Health Center and co-chair of the University’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “We remain cautiously optimistic about the declining trends in reported cases, but we all need to continue doing our part to get vaccinated, encourage those around us to get vaccinated and practice mitigation efforts whenever possible to stop the spread of the virus.”
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, 1.1% of the housing stock is in use. The UGA community consists of nearly 50,000 students, faculty and staff.
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.