Reports of positive cases of COVID-19 at the University of Georgia declined sharply over the last week, down by more than 70% from the previous week, according to data released today in UGA’s weekly update to the campus community. The University also presented additional data showing very low hospitalization rates and high rates of recovery for students who have tested positive.
A total of 421 positive tests were reported through the University’s DawgCheck reporting system for the period of September 7 – 13. Of those, 404 were students, 16 were staff, and one was a faculty member.
“These data give us some cautious optimism that cases might have plateaued on our campus,” said Dr. Garth Russo, executive director of the University Health Center and chair of UGA’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “However, we are by no means out of the woods yet. We know that we had a short week due to the Labor Day holiday, and we hope that we will not see a spike in positive cases from activities that weekend. Each member of our campus community must remain diligent in our individual efforts to curb the spread of the virus if we want to keep these numbers on a downward trend.”
The University reports test results on a weekly basis each Wednesday on the University Health Center website: https://uhs.uga.edu/healthtopics/covid-19-health-and-exposure-updates. The DawgCheck data consist of tests from four sources: (1) tests conducted through UGA’s surveillance testing program; (2) tests conducted at the University Health Center; (3) reports from Athens-area medical providers; and (4) reports of positive tests from other sources.
Data on the UHC website now include supplemental data on the experiences of students who have received positive tests. This information is obtained through a follow-up survey sent through the DawgCheck system 14 days following a positive test.
The data include a hospitalization rate, an asymptomatic rate, and a recovery rate for students who responded to the survey. The hospitalization rate, defined as the percentage of student survey respondents who reported being admitted to the hospital for treatment, was 0% for the reporting week of August 17 and 1% for the following reporting week. The recovery rate, which indicates the percentage of symptomatic students who are no longer exhibiting symptoms, was 92% for the week of August 17 and 93% for the following week.
The self-reported information collected through the follow-up survey will be used by UGA’s Student Care and Outreach unit to provide an additional level of support to students who have ongoing concerns related to classes or other aspects of campus life. The information also will help the institution better understand public health trends related to the University community, including the impact of the virus on its student population.
The University of Georgia community consists of nearly 50,000 students, faculty and staff.
“While this report indicates some positive and encouraging trends, COVID-19 remains a serious public health issue for our community, and we must not lose sight of that fact,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “I know that it sounds repetitious, but everyone must remain focused on making sound decisions each day. I urge students to remain vigilant: wear your masks, maintain your distance from others, and stay away from social venues where appropriate distancing is impossible to maintain. We must continue to work together in our campus and local community to flatten the curve and achieve sustained success over the next few weeks.”