Mercer University announces 232 cases of COVID-19 since December 30

Mercer University began its weekly publication of COVID-19 testing results for the spring semester Friday.

The university announced that between Dec. 30 and Jan. 14, a total of 4,251 students, faculty and staff were tested for the novel coronavirus across Mercer’s campuses. Of those, 232 people tested positive for COVID-19.

The bulk of the 232 cases came from Mercer’s Macon campus, where 156 students and 18 faculty and staff tested positive for COVID-19. On the Atlanta campus, 48 students and nine faculty and staff tested positive. Only one student on the Savannah campus tested positive.

The university required all Macon traditional undergraduates, College of Pharmacy and College of Health Professions students, Atlanta students in university housing and others who indicated that they had exposure to or symptoms of COVID-19 to be tested prior to the start of classes Jan. 7.

“The University is not aware of any students, faculty or staff screened and tested during this process who (have) required hospitalization,” according to Friday’s update.

The case numbers indicate a positivity rate of 5.5%. Positivity rate measures the percentage of individuals who were tested and received a positive result. According to public health experts from Harvard University, a positivity rate between 3-12% indicates adequate testing of a population, while a positivity rate under 3% is considered a goal in curbing the spread of disease.

Mandatory surveillance testing of students, faculty and staff will begin the week of Jan. 18.

Members of the Mercer community are directed to call Mercer Medicine at (478) 301-4111 or the Student Health Center 24/7 hotline at (478) 301-7425 if they begin displaying symptoms. Students who are enrolled in a course in which a student or instructor has tested positive will receive an email notifying them of their risk.