For the third straight week, the University of Georgia saw a steep decline in its weekly COVID-19 case numbers. From Sept. 21-27, UGA reported 63 new cases, down from 170 the week of Sept. 14-20.
The 63 new positive tests are divided into four categories: 29 came from UGA’s surveillance testing program at Legion Field, five from the University Health Center, 14 from the Athens-Clarke County area and 15 from the “Other” category, which includes tests conducted inside and outside of the county.
Out of the positive cases reported in DawgCheck from Sept. 21-27, 52 were recorded by students and 11 were from employees.
UGA’s surveillance testing program of asymptomatic individuals reported 1,490 total tests for the week of Sept. 21-25. 1,185 of these tests were taken by students, 81 by faculty and 224 by staff. Of those, 28 students and one staff member tested positive.
The university’s positivity rate for asymptomatic tests dropped from 3.55% to 1.95% for the week of Sept. 21-25, the lowest it’s been since the first week of testing. The positivity rate among asymptomatic students was 2.36%.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 3,820 cases reported in the UGA community, including 3,363 since the university launched its surveillance testing program on Aug. 10.
DawgCheck also sends out a recovery survey two weeks after a student reports a positive COVID-19 test. For the week of Sept. 7-13, which saw a steep decline in UGA’s COVID-19 numbers, 139 students responded to the survey out of 446 positive student cases. The recovery rate, which measures the percentage of students who no longer experience COVID-19 symptoms, was 93%, about the same as in other weeks.
DawgCheck has a quarantine and isolation calculator to help those who have been exposed or tested positive for the virus determine how long they need to stay in isolation or quarantine, respectively.
In a statement on social media on Sept. 28, the UHC said claims that it is not fully reporting positive COVID-19 cases are “ludicrous and irresponsible.” The statement came after former UGA employee Carrie Bishop tweeted a thread about UGA’s reporting strategy.
“All testing data for COVID, both positive and negative values, are reported to the GDPH each day through the notifiable diseases reporting process,” according to an email from UGA spokesperson Greg Trevor. The university has often cited FERPA regulations from being able to report student health information contained in medical records.
“The UHC compares surveys submitted through DawgCheck to tests done at the UHC to ensure there is a 1:1 match of surveys to positive tests,” Trevor said. “In the case that a survey is not associated with a test, CO-SERT, managed through the Dean of Students, is notified and they reach out to the student directly.”
If a student does not fill out the DawgCheck form, UGA Student Conduct is notified and a survey is submitted on behalf of the student, Trevor said.
For the week of Sept. 21, the UHC performed 118 COVID-19 tests. Of those, six were positive, resulting in a positivity rate of 5.08%. This is the first time UGA has released data on the positivity rate from UHC testing.