Coronavirus update 2.0 UGA

On Wednesday, the University of Georgia reported 148 new COVID-19 cases for the week of Dec. 7-13, fewer than the 184 cases from Nov. 30-Dec. 6. Since the start of the pandemic, UGA has reported 4,920 positive tests, including 4,463 since it launched its surveillance testing program on Aug. 10. 

Of the 148 new cases reported this week, 75 were from UGA’s surveillance testing program for asymptomatic volunteers, 19 were from the University’s Health Center testing program for students exhibiting symptoms, 13 were from Athens-Clarke County and local community testing sites and the remaining 41 were from the “Other” category, which includes testing sites inside and outside ACC. There were 103 students and 45 employees who tested positive.

The university conducted 2,182 surveillance tests on asymptomatic volunteers from Dec. 7-11. Of those, 55 students and 20 employees tested positive. The surveillance positivity rate slightly decreased from last week, and it’s now at 3.44%.

Although both the number of new cases and the positivity rate from surveillance testing fell during the week of Dec. 7, both figures are much higher than they were before the Thanksgiving holiday. Excluding the week of Nov. 30, the surveillance testing positivity rate is the highest it has been since the week of Sept. 14. UHC executive director Garth Russo attributed the spike in cases and positivity rate during the week of Nov. 30 to a brief, two-day surge after the holiday. Thus, today’s report may provide some evidence that the virus may be spreading faster among the UGA community.

According to its COVID-19 update, UGA expected there to be a decrease in the overall number of tests between the Thanksgiving and winter break. Student surveillance testing did increase by about 200 tests from last week, and 530 employees participated. 

The UHC testing program conducted 230 COVID-19 tests for the week of Nov. 30. Of those, 19 were positive and 211 were negative, with the positivity rate being 8.3%. The positivity rate from UHC testing is expected to be higher than the positivity rate from surveillance testing because UHC testing focuses on symptomatic students, who are more likely to be infected than asymptomatic volunteers.