The Wheel publishes updates every Friday about coronavirus spread within the Emory community, the University’s COVID-19 testing strategy and other related information. The Wheel tracks on campus cases daily in the map below, which can also be viewed on our homepage. 

The latest on testing

The University doubled its capacity to test students after completing two rounds of coronavirus testing for all on-campus students and publishing a dashboard that reports new infections daily. 

Executive Director of Emory Student Health Services Sharon Rabinovitz previously stated at an Aug. 29 community update that 1,250 tests per week would be available for students, both on and off campus, who are not showing symptoms of the virus. This number has since doubled to 2,500 tests per week, Rabinovitz told the Wheel, with two testing “pods” at the Woodruff Physical Education Center and the Emory Conference Center Hotel. 

The significant expansion in testing was based on data coming out of other schools that have reopened and from recent articles in the Journal of American Medical Association that cite frequent testing as being the best way to quickly identify new outbreaks, Rabinovitz said.

“We now know that arrival testing and ongoing testing also will help,” Rabinovitz said. “And that’s why we have instituted that arm of our response that was not there before because of the data that we have to show that it will have a positive impact if we can test more often.”

Rabinovitz noted undergraduates living on campus are expected to be tested weekly. While students living off campus don’t have this requirement, they can also schedule a test. 

Asymptomatic students will receive a rapid antigen test which provides results within 15 to 20 minutes. Individuals who are symptomatic will receive a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which can take up to two days for results. Those who have been in contact with someone who tested positive will be instructed by a contact tracer about steps for isolation and testing. 

Emory’s testing and reporting capacity is much greater than other Georgia colleges, many of which do not provide testing or report little to no information about the spread of the disease. The University also has a smaller proportion of its student body living on campus compared to other schools in the state. 

The latest on new cases

There were 14 new cases in the past week, 12 of which were students and two were staff members. Nine of those cases were off campus; two case was reported at the Undergraduate Residential Center at Clairmont Campus, one at Raoul Hall, one at Hamilton Holmes Hall and one at Murdy and Elizer Hall at Oxford College. Since Aug. 22, the University has reported 12 on-campus cases. Rabinovitz did not respond to the Wheel’s inquiry about how the University plans to prevent the spread of the virus within those dormitories by press time.

The University reported five new cases on Sept. 11, the greatest daily increase in cases since Aug. 6.