Georgia universities report spike in COVID-19 cases

Georgia Bulldogs fans receive shirts at Stegeman Coliseum on the University of Georgia campus in Athens ahead of a watch party for the College Football Playoff national championship game held Monday. Many of Georgia’s largest public universities are reporting a significant increase in new COVID-19 cases as classes resume this week. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Georgia Bulldogs fans receive shirts at Stegeman Coliseum on the University of Georgia campus in Athens ahead of a watch party for the College Football Playoff national championship game held Monday. Many of Georgia’s largest public universities are reporting a significant increase in new COVID-19 cases as classes resume this week. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Many of Georgia’s largest public universities are reporting a significant increase in new COVID-19 cases as classes resume this week.

The largest increase occurred at the University of Georgia. The state’s flagship university reported Wednesday 804 cases between Jan. 3-9, more than three times the total from the prior seven-day period of 251 new cases.

The numbers do not include any reported cases since Monday, when classes began there for the spring semester.

Georgia Southern University reported a major increase in new cases, from 34 between Dec. 27-Jan. 2, to 312 cases between Jan. 3-9. The university notes on its website that all but 20 cases are self-reported and unconfirmed.

Georgia Tech reported 35 student and three employee cases Monday, its first day of the new semester. It has reported 470 cases this month, already surpassing December’s total of 388 cases. Most of the students who self-reported testing positive live off campus. Georgia Tech has nearly 44,000 students, the second-highest enrollment in the state.

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Georgia Tech students and employees get tested for COVID-19 at its Economic Development Building on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Georgia Tech students and employees get tested for COVID-19 at its Economic Development Building on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
Georgia Tech students and employees get tested for COVID-19 at its Economic Development Building on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Kennesaw State University reported on its website 208 confirmed cases between Dec. 31 and Jan. 7. More than 40% of those cases were employees and faculty. KSU has about 43,000 students, the third-highest enrollment in Georgia, and roughly 3,300 employees.

Georgia State University, which has the largest enrollment in the state, 52,350, reported 114 positive results through on-campus testing between Jan. 1-7. It had 15 positive results the prior week.

ExploreThe latest on how coronavirus is affecting Georgia schools

Emory, the state’s largest private university, has also seen an increase in cases. More than 100 students tested positive in the last 10 days through its on-site screening program, according to its website. Emory is starting its spring semester with remote learning as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, while Georgia’s public universities are holding most classes in-person.

Unlike the University System of Georgia, Emory has required vaccinations. Last month, Emory announced that all employees, faculty and students also will be required to get a COVID-19 booster shot. Emory will extend exemptions for those who have previously received one.

ExploreComplete coverage of COVID-19 in Georgia

The increase in new cases on these campuses is similar to the rise nationwide.

And hospitalizations among college-aged Georgians are up, with 464 confirmed hospitalizations for 18- to 24-year-olds during a recent seven-day period, federal statistics show. While Georgia has the eighth-largest population, it has the sixth-highest number of hospitalizations among that age group.