On Wednesday, the University of Georgia reported 97 COVID-19 cases for the week of Nov. 16-22, up slightly from the 89 cases reported the week before. Since the start of the pandemic, UGA has reported 4,502 cases, including 4,045 since Aug. 10, when the university launched its surveillance testing program.
The report provides a final glimpse of how the pandemic is spreading in the university community before the Thanksgiving holiday, when many people may travel home to visit family members.
Out of the 97 cases reported, 38 were from UGA’s surveillance testing program for asymptomatic volunteers, 18 were from the University Health Center’s testing program for students exhibiting symptoms, nine were from Athens and local community testing sites and 32 were from the “Other” category, which includes testing sites from Athens and outside of Athens.In addition, students accounted for 78 of the 97 positive cases this week.
The surveillance testing program conducted 5,083 tests from Nov. 16-20, shattering its previous record of 2,544 tests in a week set during the week of Nov. 9. The sharp increase in testing may have contributed to the overall increase in the weekly number of cases.
The rate of testing surpassed UGA’s current capacity of 1,000 per weekday. UGA temporarily increased its testing capacity to catch cases before the Thanksgiving holiday. The university also offered incentives for getting a surveillance test from Nov. 9-20, such as face coverings and coffee. The positivity rate was 0.75%, remaining below 1% for the second straight week. Among asymptomatic students, the positivity rate was 0.82%.
The UHC testing program conducted 192 tests during the week of Nov. 16. Of those, 18 were positive, leading to a positivity rate of 9.4%. The positivity rate from UHC testing is expected to be higher than the positivity rate from surveillance testing because UHC testing focuses on those who are exhibiting symptoms.