Reports of positive cases of COVID-19 among faculty, staff and students at the University of Georgia continued to decline last week, falling nearly 30 percent from the previous week. In addition, the positivity rate for surveillance testing dropped as well.
A total of 2,407 tests were administered at the Legion Field surveillance site and in pop-up locations that included high-traffic areas on campus. Of those tested, 60 yielded positive results for a positivity rate of 2.49 percent.
Overall, 190 individuals reported positive tests through the DawgCheck system for January 18 – 24. Of those, 135 were students, 50 were staff, and five were faculty members.
“This is the second consecutive week that our positive cases have been down, so I am cautiously optimistic that we are moving past the post-holiday spike,” said Dr. Garth Russo, executive director of the University Health Center and chair of UGA’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “However, there is still plenty of room for improvement. As a campus community, we cannot afford to become complacent.”
The University Health Center and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories continue to offer up to 1,500 tests per day through the surveillance testing program at Legion Field and pop-up locations. These tests are free to faculty, staff and students.
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 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.
Information on the UHC website also includes 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 responses allow members of UGA’s Student Care and Outreach unit—who reach out to every student who reports a positive test—to provide additional support to those with ongoing concerns.
The follow-up data for the week of January 4 – 10 indicate no student respondents reported hospitalizations and that 88 percent reported they had fully recovered from their symptoms.
“Though we are hopeful to have this pandemic in the rearview very soon, we are not there yet,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Victor Wilson. “It is as important now as ever to continue the basic daily actions that keep each other safe: masking up, washing hands, staying more than six feet apart, avoiding larger gatherings, and general social distancing. We are in this together, and our success relies on one another.”
The University is maintaining a stock of nearly 500 rooms to accommodate isolation and quarantine housing, as needed. At present, 6.4 percent of the housing stock is in use.
The University of Georgia community consists of nearly 50,000 students, faculty and staff.