Georgia colleges report decrease in COVID-19 cases

New cases of COVID-19 on University System of Georgia campuses started to come down this week after increasing at the beginning of the fall semester.

The number of positive tests reported at nine schools – including the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech – declined this week, mirroring a trend that occurred at the same time last year.

“Whenever we see a decline in cases, we are grateful, and we hope this downward trend holds,” said Dr. Shelley Nuss, co-chair of UGA’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “We saw a similar pattern last fall: a peak in cases shortly after we began classes that then fell markedly and leveled off.

“We hope that with our continued push to encourage vaccinations, testing and masking, our numbers will continue to decline. COVID-19 is a very serious disease, and vaccines remain our best defense.”

The decline in positive tests for the virus came as the campuses ramped up vaccination campaigns stressed continuing health and safety protocols.

More than 313,000 COVID-19 tests have been sent to campuses, and an additional 50,000 tests are on the way. The university system also has distributed 942,000 gloves, 432,000 masks and face shields, 21,400 gowns and about 1,000 gallons of sanitizer and disinfectant solution.

“Thank you to the students, faculty and staff who have gotten vaccinated and taken seriously all we’ve asked them to do to keep themselves and their campuses safe,” Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney said.

“We appreciate everyone who’s wearing a mask on campus, staying home when they’re not feeling well, getting tested and, most of all, getting vaccinated. It’s making a difference.”

But those efforts haven’t been enough to satisfy groups of students, faculty and staff, who have conducted demonstrations this week on campuses across the state demanding the university system impose a mask mandate.

Other campuses experiencing a decline in positive tests for COVID-19 this week include Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Clayton State University, Columbus State University, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University and the University of North Georgia.

HOW TO GET VACCINATED: COVID-19 has killed more than 20,000 Georgia residents. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones die from a preventable virus. COVID vaccines are free and widely available statewide without insurance or identification. To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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