ANALYSIS: UGA COVID-19 cases continue to increase | City News

As part of The Red & Black’s health news coverage, we are publishing weekly reports on news relating to COVID-19 and its recent statistics.

Major updates

COVID-19 cases have increased slightly at the University of Georgia, according to the university’s reporting system. UGA reported 20 new cases during the week of March 14-20 compared to the 13 cases during March 7-13. 

The surveillance testing positivity rate increased during the week of March 14-18 to 1.15% compared to 0.00% during the week of March 7-11. 

The university conducted 262 surveillance tests during the week of March 14-18 compared to the 95 tests the week of March 7-11.  

Because students may have tested positive off-campus and not reported it, the actual number of COVID-19 cases in the UGA community may be higher.

Many Georgia counties are classified as high or moderate transmission geographical areas for COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Athens-Clarke County is classified as a moderate transmission geographic area.

According to the Georgia Geospatial Information Office, Georgia’s hospitals have about 24% of their intensive care unit beds left for sick patients. The percentage of intensive care unit beds left  in Region E — which includes ACC and several surrounding counties — is about 16%.

From March 13-19, the majority of the COVID-19 cases in the southeastern U.S. were omicron cases, according to the CDC. About 21.5% were BA.2 cases. 

The majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Data breakdown: University of Georgia

There were two positive tests reported at the University Health Center. There were no positive tests reported through Athens testing sites, three positive tests from UGA surveillance testing and 15 positive tests from UGA community members reporting from other testing sites.

Students that test positive for COVID-19 off-campus are required to report it through DawgCheck, UGA’s monitoring tool. 

For the week of March 14-18, the UHC administered 70 vaccines. Cumulatively, the UHC has administered 33,555 vaccines. 

Students and faculty may book a vaccine appointment through the UHC Vaccine Portal or get vaccinated at any University System of Georgia school. Students may also get tested for COVID-19 at the UHC with walk-in appointments. Appointments can be scheduled here. Due to vaccination status being verified on-site, individuals should bring their original vaccine card to the appointment. 

Data breakdown: Athens-Clarke County

From March 18-23, the county reported eight new confirmed cases, compared to 17 cases from March 12-17, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The county’s seven-day average positivity rate was 5.8%. The World Health Organization recommends communities maintain a positivity rate below 5%.

This week, ACC reported one confirmed COVID-19 death.

According to the Georgia Geospatial Information Office, the number of current hospitalizations in Region E — which includes ACC and several surrounding counties — was eight as of March 23.  

According to the Georgia DPH, about 49% of the county is fully vaccinated. 

Data breakdown: Georgia 

Statewide, the weekly number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases decreased.

According to the DPH, Georgia reported 3,435 confirmed COVID-19 cases between March 18-23. This is a decrease from the 5,317 cases recorded between March 12-17. The state’s seven-day average positivity rate as of March 23 was 3.4%.

The number of confirmed deaths in the state decreased. Georgia recorded 183 confirmed COVID-19 deaths between March 18-23, compared to 233 between March 12-17. 

On March 23, about 600 individuals were hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the state. 

According to the Department of Public Health, approximately 5.8 million Georgians have been fully vaccinated, or about 56% of the state. In comparison, the U.S. has a current full vaccination rate of 65%. Approximately 6.6 million Georgians, or 63% of the state, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The CDC has also released guidelines advising vaccinated individuals in areas of high transmission to still wear masks when in public, indoor settings.

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