Coronavirus update 2.0 UGA

The University of Georgia reported 15 COVID-19 cases over the week of April 19-25, a significant decrease from the 36 cases a week before. Since the start of 2021, the university has reported 1,582 positive cases. Since the start of the pandemic, UGA has reported 6,886 positive cases.

Of the 15 cases reported this week, six were from UGA’s surveillance testing program for volunteers without symptoms — one was from the University Health Center’s testing program primarily for students with symptoms, one was from Athens testing sites and the remaining seven were from the “other” category, which includes positive tests both inside and outside of Athens. In total, 11 students and four employees tested positive.

The university conducted 576 surveillance tests during the week of April 19-23, the lowest amount this semester and a decrease from the 776 tests last week. The positivity rate from surveillance testing was 1.04%, a slight increase from the 0.90% the previous week. 

The numbers have both been steadily decreasing since the spike of the week of Jan. 4, according to the university’s data reports.

There is still a chance of an uptrend in COVID-19 cases, as different mutations of the coronavirus are found in Georgia and as people ease on public health guidelines. The Red & Black will continue to monitor all COVID-19 related information reported by UGA. 

As of April 25, the UHC has administered 17,951 vaccines cumulatively from the 26,770 received. Of those, 8,481 people have received both doses of the vaccine. UHC administered 3,421 vaccines from April 19-25. 

The University Health Center has opened up appointments to everyone in the University of Georgia community via the UHC Vaccine Portal, according to an April 14 ArchNews email. They will be continuing to vaccinate through the summer, according to an April 28 ArchNews email.  

Additionally, COVID-19 testing will continue over the summer, but surveillance testing will be moved to the UHC instead of Legion Field. The regular e-mail update to complete the DawgCheck symptom screener will be discontinued as of May 17, but positive cases must still be reported through the DawgCheck Test Reporting Survey.

UHC will not continue to send appointment invites to UGA faculty, staff and students over the age of 16 who have not yet been vaccinated. Instead, anyone interested in a vaccine can schedule an appointment through the portal.

Recently, an Archnews email released a conversation report between the UGA COVID-19 Response Committee, COVID Task Force Leaders and UGA President Jere Morehead. In this report, they highlighted that students should be taking advantage of the surveillance testing if they haven’t been vaccinated. Additionally, they have encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and not anticipate mandatory vaccinations for the fall semester. The full panel and conversation can be found here.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, endorsed double masking amid the more contagious coronavirus mutations found in the U.S, which have been found to be 30-70% more transmissible to others than the initial strain. Double-masking has shown to block over 92% of potential infectious particles from spreading to others, according to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has also released guidelines for vaccinated people to still try their best to follow social distancing, wear masks and frequently wash hands.