Athens-Clarke County surpassed 5,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The county reported 23 new cases, bringing the total to 5,020.
Like much of Georgia, ACC saw low daily case numbers for much of May before seeing rising case totals in June. From July through late-August, cases had nearly plateaued, but showed slight increases at the beginning of August.
Following the start of classes at the University of Georgia, however, the county saw a brief but sharp increase in its cases and positivity rate.
Recent data has shown a decrease in cases. As of Sept. 26, the seven-day rolling average for cases was 23.6. The DPH reported that the seven-day average positivity rate in ACC has fallen to 4.9% from a high of 19.2% on Sept. 6. For context, the World Health Organization recommends that areas maintain a positivity rate of 5% or below.
Similarly, UGA has seen drops in both new COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate from its surveillance testing program for two consecutive weeks.
Although the number of cases has fallen, the heightened level for much of the summer has translated to deaths in the Athens community. Of the 44 coronavirus-related deaths in ACC, 27 occurred in August or September. August and September were two of the most deadly months of the pandemic in Athens.