Signs in the University of Georgia's Legion Pool parking lot denote the site as a COVID-19 surveillance testing site in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

On Wednesday, the University of Georgia reported 421 cases from Sept. 7-13. This is down from 1,490 from Aug. 31-Sept. 6.

The previous week’s case numbers were also revised, from 1,417 to 1,490. In an email to The Red & Black, UGA spokesperson Greg Trevor said there were several reasons why numbers may be revised.

“Numbers may be adjusted for multiple reasons,” Trevor said. “For example, these results may be reconciled with final data from the Georgia Department of Public Health. Adjustments also may reflect off-campus tests that were conducted in one week but where the results were not confirmed until the following week.”

The Red & Black reached out to UGA for comment about the significant decrease in cases from Sept. 7-13.

Since the start of the pandemic, the university has reported a total of 3,538 COVID-19 cases in its community, including 3,081 since it launched its surveillance testing program on Aug. 10.

Out of the 421 cases reported for last week, 404 were reported by students, 16 were reported by staff and one was reported by a faculty member. 

Although there was no testing on Labor Day, the university conducted 1,655 surveillance tests from Sept. 7-11, an improvement over the 1,575 tests from Aug. 31-Sept. 4. Starting last week, UGA increased its capacity for surveillance testing — which tests asymptomatic volunteers — to 450 tests per weekday.

There were 126 positive tests from UGA’s surveillance testing program last week. The positivity rate was 7.61%, down from 9.08% from Aug. 31-Sept. 4. This is the first time the positivity rate has declined from one week to the next.

In early September, The Red & Black reached out to Trevor about what the university’s target positivity rate was. Although he did not give a specific number, Trevor told The Red & Black that “a decreasing rate is our ultimate goal” in an email.

Of the 1,655 surveillance tests, 1,373 were conducted on students, 163 were conducted on staff and 119 were conducted on faculty. Out of those, 123 students, two staff members and one faculty member tested positive. 

In addition to its surveillance testing program, UGA reported 94 positive tests from its University Health Center testing, which tests symptomatic students. UGA does not release the number of UHC tests it conducts.

There were also 201 positive tests conducted at off-campus testing sites during the week of Sept. 7. Of those, 50 were conducted at Athens and local community testing sites, and 151 were reported in the “Other” category. 

UGA sends out a recovery survey through DawgCheck to students. Students receive the survey 14 days after they reported a positive test. Out of 1,077 surveys, only 424 were completed. The recovery rate, which includes those no longer experiencing any symptoms, exceeded 90% among respondents.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the number of faculty COVID-19 cases and the total number of cases since Aug. 10. The Red & Black regrets this error, and it has since been fixed.

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(1) comment


Are the DawgCheck numbers all simply self-reported positives?

If they are and there's no real way to force people to use DawgCheck, then how can anything at all be concluded from the results? Certainly it should not be concluded that conditions at the university have dramatically improved.

The only numbers that seem to offer any clarity are the surveillance test numbers, which did go down (from 9.08% to 7.61%) but which are still alarming.

Also, if people are getting tested at the UHC, then why isn't the school separately reporting both the number of people tested and the positivity rate? It surely has access to that inforrmation.

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