Where are college students’ COVID-19 positive cases reported to?

Would your case be counted in Bulloch county or your home county?

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Graphic: Andy Cole

Andy Cole, Editor-in-Chief

STATESBORO — As COVID-19 rates continue to rise in Georgia and college communities around the state, questions are swirling on where students’ COVID-19 positive cases are reported to—Bulloch county or the student’s home county. 

When a COVID-19 test is ordered, the results of the test are returned to the purchaser; that is who you got the test from. The purchaser then reports the results to GDPH. 

“A positive test is recorded where you spend the bulk of your time and represents the place you were most likely infected.,” Nancy Nydam, GDPH spokeswoman, said. “For most students, living on campus or away from their permanent or parents’ home, the county listed would be the county where the school is located.”

In an email to The George-Anne, Brian DeLoach, M.D., health services’ medical director, confirmed that when Georgia Southern health services reports a positive case, they list the local address if one is available. 

One solution for the confusion is GS’ new COVID-19 exposure dashboard. There, you can track positive cases by day of positive confirmation, role (student or employee) and campus. It is, however, only updated once a week. 

Rob Yarbrough, associate professor of geography, praised GS President Kyle Marrero’s move to establish the dashboard, but added that he wished GS published the information daily and provided as much information about the cases as lawfully possible to truly illustrate the situation. 

“It’s a good start. That’s kind of what I say to my students when they’ve got a rough draft and they know they haven’t quite put as much into it as they need to,” said Yarbrough. “They know as much as I do that they’ve got a ways to go.”

An individual can be infected with COVID-19 anytime, anywhere – but the risk is greatest where you spend the most amount of time and around people outside of your own household,” said Nyman. This is less about an “official” address and more about where you spend your time.