Cases of COVID-19 at the University of Georgia returned to the low levels sustained throughout March after an uptick at the beginning of April. For the week of April 5 – 11, 33 cases were reported—a drop of 38 percent from the preceding week.
Of those who reported positive tests through the DawgCheck system, 25 were students and eight were staff members. No faculty members tested positive.
Surveillance tests were administered to 638 individuals at the Legion Field surveillance site and in a satellite location—the lowest number of participants since UGA initiated its testing program last August. Of those tested, nine yielded positive results for a positivity rate of 1.41 percent.
“I am relieved to see the number of cases fall back to the low-30s, and I hope the preceding week turns out to be an aberration,” said Dr. Garth Russo, executive director of the University Health Center and chair of UGA’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “However, the sharp decline in our voluntary testing program is continuing, and that is troubling. I encourage all members of the community—whether they have been vaccinated or not—to continue to be tested because the results help us to understand the impact of both vaccines and variants.”
The University Health Center has now extended invitations to book vaccine appointments to all faculty, staff and students over the age of 16. This week, the Health Center can accommodate up to 1,000 vaccines per day and has received sufficient shipments of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to handle demand.
In order to stimulate interest in vaccines and surveillance testing, UGA is offering special “Georgia Strong/Dawg Strong” T-shirts and other incentives at the Legion Field test site and University Health Center vaccine site.
“We need to finish this semester strong,” said Russo. “We are offering free surveillance testing and free vaccines to all of our faculty, staff and students. Being vaccinated is the best way to ensure that we achieve herd immunity and can resume normal activities. I urge everyone to be vaccinated as soon as possible.”
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 UHC website also now includes a Vaccine Dashboard that reports the total amount of vaccine received and administered through the previous week, as well as the number of vaccines given by the UHC within the prior week.
The University Health Center and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories are also meeting daily demand for testing with saliva-based testing that is free to faculty, staff and students.
The University is maintaining a stock of nearly 450 rooms to accommodate isolation and quarantine housing, as needed. At present, less than 1 percent of the housing stock—0.7 percent—is in use.
The University of Georgia community consists of nearly 50,000 students, faculty and staff.