Coronavirus update 2.0 UGA

On Wednesday, the University of Georgia reported 78 COVID-19 cases for the week of Nov. 9, down slightly from the 101 cases reported for the week of Nov. 2. The number of cases for the week of Nov. 2 was revised up from 87 as more positive cases were reported.

UGA has reported a total 4,393 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 3,936 since the launch of the university’s surveillance testing program on Aug. 10. Wednesday’s report suggests that cases are remaining steady approximately two weeks before the start of the Thanksgiving break, when many UGA students may go home and interact with older relatives. Case reports are a reflection of how the virus was spreading roughly two weeks ago, making next week’s report crucial to viewing case trends before break.

Of the 78 positive tests reported for the week of Nov. 9, 24 were from UGA’s surveillance testing program for asymptomatic students, 15 were reported from the University Health Center’s testing program for students exhibiting symptoms, eight were from Athens and local community testing centers and 31 were from the “Other” category, which includes tests from inside and outside the county or unspecified locations. There were 60 students who tested positive and 18 employees who tested positive.

UGA’s surveillance testing program conducted 2,544 tests from Nov. 9-13, a new record in tests conducted in a week. Although 2,544 tests is a record, it is still only about half of the university’s current testing capacity, suggesting many more volunteers could get tested.

UGA has temporarily increased its surveillance testing capacity to 1,000 tests per weekday from Nov. 9-20. Students, faculty and staff have two days left to get a saliva or nasal swab test at Legion Field or any of the pop-up locations before Thanksgiving break. The last day of surveillance testing before break is Tuesday, Nov. 24. Testing will resume on Monday, Nov. 30 and continue through the rest of the semester.

Of the 24 positive tests from surveillance testing, 20 were among students, three were among staff and one was from a faculty member. The positivity rate was 0.94% — the lowest it has been since the week of Aug. 10. Among students, the positivity rate was 1.01%.

The UHC’s testing program conducted 162 tests for the week of Nov. 9. Of those, 15 were positive, leading to a positivity rate of 9.3%. UHC testing is expected to have a higher positivity rate than surveillance testing because it is for students with symptoms, who are more likely to be infected than volunteers without symptoms.