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Georgia Southern University using CARES Center to contact trace COVID-19 cases

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 3:39 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been two weeks since Georgia Southern University started school. All three campuses are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Just last week, there were 96 positive cases.

While Georgia Southern University doesn’t require vaccinations, they are encouraging it. At the Armstrong campus and over at the Statesboro campus, there are weekly vaccination clinics.

However, university officials say it’s not getting the turnout they’d like to see.

A spokesman for GSU says the campuses’ COVID cases reflect the state and region. John Lester says the only way to help lower their positive case numbers is by getting students and staff vaccinated.

Plus, mask wearing - which is encouraged on GSU campuses.

The university’s data shows, last week, there were 96 university confirmed positive cases and 338 unconfirmed self-reported positive cases, meaning reports submitted to the CARES Center from those who claim to have a positive test result.

Lester says the university’s CARES Center plays a huge role in COVID-19 prevention and contact tracing. He added that it is the student’s responsibility to report positive test results to the CARES Center, especially if it wasn’t a test ordered by Athletics or University Health Services.

From there, Lester says the CARES Center provides the individual with assistance when it comes to identifying close contacts who are then notified.

“They would set up, for instance, if you would need to be isolated in the dorms, if you need to have meals delivered, if you need help with your classes to make sure the instructor knows when you’ll be out and when you’re allowed to come back. The CARES Center on campus, staffed by faculty, staff and volunteers and that’s our central resources for managing that,” Lester said.

Lester says the university is looking at ways to increase turnout at vaccination clinics, possibly looking at offering incentives.

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