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UGA responds to pre-Thanksgiving COVID testing push

By Greg Trevor/UGA Today

Volunteers for COVID-19 surveillance testing at the University of Georgia reached a new all-time high last week, with 2,225 participants. Of those, 31 tested positive, for a positivity rate of 1.39% – a slight decrease from the previous week.

Overall, 87 positive tests were reported through the University’s DawgCheck system for November 2 – 8: 63 students and 24 staff members. No faculty members tested positive.

As of Monday, November 9, UGA has increased its testing capacity to 1,000 participants per day – up to 750 at the Legion Field surveillance site and another 250 through pop-up sites across campus, which are announced each day on the University Health Center website.

“We are excited that so many members of our UGA community are taking advantage of the free surveillance testing being offered on our campus,” said Dr. Garth Russo, executive director of the University Health Center and chair of UGA’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “This is particularly important as we head toward the Thanksgiving holiday. If our students, faculty or staff are planning to be with loved ones, then for the health and welfare of all involved, they need to know if they are virus-free.”

Faculty, staff and students are advised to be tested on or before Friday, November 20 to ensure that results will be in hand by Wednesday, November 25. As an added incentive, those who are tested will receive new “Georgia Strong/Dawg Strong” face coverings, as well as coupons for on-campus retail locations and the UGA Bookstore.

“When we launched our surveillance testing program back in August, we set a goal to test 24,000 individuals by Thanksgiving,” said Russo. “With our pre-Thanksgiving initiative now underway, we’re on track to surpass that number later this week.”

The University reports test results on a weekly basis each Wednesday on the University Health Center website: The data consist of tests from four sources: (1) tests conducted through UGA’s surveillance testing program; (2) tests conducted at the University Health Center; (3) reports from Athens-area medical providers; and (4) reports of positive tests from other sources.

The University is maintaining a stock of 500 rooms to accommodate isolation and quarantine housing, as needed. At present, 6.6% of the housing stock is in use.

The University of Georgia community consists of nearly 50,000 students, faculty and staff.

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