Saturday, July 2, 2022

ANALYSIS: UGA COVID-19 testing significantly decreases, county cases increase

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

According to the World Health Organization, the new COVID-19 variant — sometimes called deltacron — appears to be no more severe than omicron, however it is more transmissible.

Since the beginning of the year, the novel COVID-19 sub-variant of the delta and omicron strains has been circulating. The variant is a recombinant virus that combines omicron’s full-length spike protein with delta’s backbone.

COVID-19 cases have increased slightly at the University of Georgia, according to the university’s reporting system. UGA reported 12 new cases during the week of March 7-13 compared to the 10 cases during Feb. 28-March 6.

The surveillance testing positivity rate decreased during the week of March 7-11 to 0% compared to 0.21% during the week of Feb. 28-March 4.

The university conducted 95 surveillance tests during the week of March 7-11 compared to the 471 tests the week of Feb. 28-March 4. Fewer tests performed may mean fewer positive cases reported.

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 5%.

From March 6-12, the majority of the COVID-19 cases in the southeastern US were omicron cases, according to the CDC. About 12% were deltacron cases.

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

Data breakdown: University of Georgia

There were no positive tests reported at the University Health Center, UGA surveillance testing or from UGA community members reporting from testing sites in Athens. All 12 positive tests were from UGA community members reporting from other testing sites.

About three of the positive tests belonged to employees and nine related to students.

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 7-11, the UHC administered 28 vaccines. Cumulatively, the UHC has administered 33,468 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 11-16, the county reported 19 new confirmed cases, compared to 15 cases from March 5-10, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The county’s seven-day average positivity rate was 2.4%. The World Health Organization recommends communities maintain a positivity rate below 5%.

This week, ACC reported four confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

According to the Georgia Geospatial Information Office, the number of current hospitalizations in Region E — which includes ACC and several surrounding counties — was 32 as of March 17.

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 5,306 confirmed COVID-19 cases between March 11-16. This is a decrease from the 5,426 cases recorded between March 5-10. The state’s seven-day average positivity rate as of March 16 was 4.5%.

The number of confirmed deaths in the state decreased. Georgia recorded 211 confirmed COVID-19 deaths between March 11-16, compared to 302 between March 5-10.

On March 17, about 749 individuals were hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the state.

According to the DPH, approximately 5.8 million Georgians have been fully vaccinated, or about 56% of the state. In comparison, the US 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 to still wear masks when in public, indoor settings.

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