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COVID Cases at UGA Drop for Second Straight Week

Credit: University of Georgia

Covid-19 cases among University of Georgia students, faculty and staff fell last week from 168 to 77 after hitting a high of 515 during the first week of September.

Of those 77 cases, UGA reported Wednesday, 51 were students and 26 were employees.

UGA’s numbers come from the University Health Center, surveillance testing and self-reporting on the DawgCheck app.

In another sign that the Delta variant surge is receding, just eight of 1,196 surveillance tests conducted on asymptomatic individuals were positive, for a positivity rate of 0.67%. It was the third week in a row that the positivity rate for surveillance tests fell.

Overall, Clarke County has been averaging 45 cases per day over the past seven days. That’s down from 100 at the beginning of the month, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Wastewater testing conducted by UGA professor Erin Lipp also showed a “clear decline” in viral loads last week, especially at treatment plants serving downtown, campus and the Eastside, according to her lab at the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases.

However, local hospitals remain crowded, and vaccination rates continue to lag.

The University Health Center administered 333 shots last week. It has fully vaccinated 14,249 people and still has more than 17,000 doses on hand.

Only 43% of Clarke County’s population is fully vaccinated, and 48% have received at least one dose; however, it’s unclear how many UGA students are including in those figures. Vaccinations have slowed to a trickle despite incentives offered by UGA and the Athens-Clarke County government—only about 50 or so day in recent weeks.

In Region E, which includes Clarke and surrounding counties, 96% of intensive care beds and 91% of all inpatient beds are in use. Most of those beds are at Piedmont Athens Regional and St. Mary’s. Of 692 total patients, 214, or 31%, have COVID-19. Fifty-nine ventilators are currently in use.

More Clarke County residents are dying of COVID-19 than in previous months. Two died on Sunday, bringing the total to 13 since Aug. 11. Prior to that, no one from Clarke County had died of COVID in nearly two months.