Coronavirus update 2.0 UGA

The University of Georgia reported seven COVID-19 cases over the week of May 3-9, a decrease from the 18 cases a week before. Since the start of 2021, the university has reported 1,607 positive cases. Since the start of the pandemic, UGA has reported 6,911 positive cases.

Of the seven cases reported this week, three were from UGA’s surveillance testing program for volunteers without symptoms, none were from the University Health Center’s testing program primarily for students with symptoms, two were from Athens testing sites and the remaining two were from the “other” category, which includes positive tests both inside and outside of Athens. In total, five students and two employees tested positive.

The university conducted 252 surveillance tests during the week of May 3-7, the lowest amount this semester and a decrease from the 393 tests last week. The positivity rate from surveillance testing was 1.19%, a decrease from the 1.53% the previous week.

The COVID-19 case and surveillance test 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.

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. The UHC 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 email 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 vaccine portal.

According to an ArchNews email sent out May 6, UGA retirees, spouses and significant others of UGA retirees, faculty, staff and students are eligible to be vaccinated at the UHC, along with visitors to campus engaged in research and academic or non-academic summer engagement or transition opportunities.

Additionally, those visiting campus as part of orientation and active employees and students enrolled at other University System of Georgia institutions who live in the Athens vicinity and who wish to receive a vaccine at UHC over the summer will be able to receive one.

An ArchNews email released a conversation report on April 8 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 on UGA’s YouTube channel.

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