As the University of Georgia heads into the Thanksgiving break, reported cases of COVID-19 increased slightly from the previous week. UGA is offering additional opportunities for testing and free vaccines on campus for all students, faculty and staff.
A total of 29 cases were reported for the week of Nov. 8-14, an increase of seven cases from the previous week. This week’s figure still marks a 95% decrease from the peak of cases reported around Labor Day. In addition, four out of 405 asymptomatic individuals tested positive, for a rate of 1%.
The University Health Center posted the data as part of the weekly update on its website Wednesday morning. Of the 29 cases reported in DawgCheck, 22 were students and seven were staff members. No faculty members reported positive cases.
The overall low cases at UGA reflect declining trends in the local community and across the state of Georgia.
“As students prepare to travel and enjoy the holidays with family and friends, we continue urging the importance of both COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in order to keep our campus community protected,” said Jen Swails, interim executive director of the University Health Center and co-chair of the university’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “We appreciate the continued efforts of our students, faculty and staff in fighting this pandemic and hope those measures will continue throughout the remainder of the semester.”
The UHC can test up to 800 individuals a day through its surveillance testing program, and this service is offered free to the campus community.
The UGA College of Public Health, in partnership with the UHC, will offer pop-up COVID-19 testing at the Tate Center ahead of Thanksgiving and winter break. Walk-up testing will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 22, Dec. 8 and Dec. 20. No appointments are necessary for these services.
The UHC continues to provide 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 nearly 30,200 vaccines to members of the UGA community. The university continues to offer free T-shirts for vaccinations, while supplies last.
“It’s extremely important that our campus community continue doing everything they can to fight this pandemic, especially as we enter into flu season and the holidays,” said Dr. Shelley Nuss, campus dean of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership and co-chair of the university’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “The COVID-19 vaccine and booster, for those who are eligible, remain one of our greatest tools to fight this virus, and we urge everyone to take advantage of the services available on campus and in the community to get vaccinated.”
In addition to COVID-19 vaccines, the UHC is also offering the flu vaccine with no appointment necessary for all students, faculty and staff from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Flu shots are available to UGA students, student spouses, current faculty and staff and their dependents (13 years and older) and retired faculty. A flu shot is free for those who bring a UGA ID and current insurance card. A flu shot will cost $50 for those who are uninsured. Appointments can also be made by phone in the Allergy/Travel Clinic by calling 706-542-5575 or visiting patientportal.uhs.uga.edu.
The flu vaccine is also readily available at local pharmacies, clinics and primary care physicians’ offices. The Georgia Department of Public Health offers a HealthMap Vaccine Finder on its website.
If patients are eligible, both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered during the same visit.
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% 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.