Georgia Tech Coronavirus Cases More Than Double After Fraternity House Lockdown

Coronavirus cases at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, the state capital and most populous city in Georgia, were reported to have reached 641 on Saturday, the university confirmed.

The figure is more than double the 252 cases confirmed by school officials a week earlier on August 22, WSB-TV Atlanta reported, when a fraternity house announced it was in lockdown following a rise in COVID-19 cases among members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Dozens of new cases were recorded at the school since Saturday, including 11 reported Monday. The school has reported 716 total cases since March, the university noted on its website. The infections come after the university reopened for in-person classes on August 17.

On August 22, the fraternity confirmed in a statement posted on its official Instagram account: "For the past several days, we have dealt with a spike in COVID-19 cases among our members. As of three days ago, our house was locked down to non-residents."

The fraternity is working with school officials "to test all other members of our chapter and isolate those with positive members. Fulton County has been in touch with several of our members and is working on the contact tracing process," the statement noted.

The majority of the cases among fraternity members were identified through Georgia Tech's Coronavirus Task Force "after a smaller spike was identified last week," the statement said.

Infected students who live in Greek fraternity housing were said to be "returning home to isolate or isolating in Greek housing with other affected individuals," the school confirmed on its website.

Other infected students living on campus are "returning home to isolate or moving to isolation housing provided by Georgia Tech Housing and Residence life," while infected individuals who live off campus are "isolating away from campus," the school noted.

"All affected individuals are being notified as consistent with the Georgia Department of Public Health," the university said.

Among the new cases reported Monday is a staff member who is an employee of the Georgia Tech Research Institute and "is isolating away from campus," the school confirmed.

"The results reported on Monday, August 31 only reflect positives found through diagnostic testing for the day; surveillance testing typically does not take place on Sundays, so no surveillance samples were processed on August 31," the school noted.

Confirmed cases in Georgia are approaching nearly 270,500, according to the latest report Tuesday by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

The three-day moving average of daily new cases was reported to be on a downward trend in a recent two-week period from August 16 to 29, according to JHU.

Average daily new cases in Georgia have been increasing on a sharper incline from mid-June to July 24, when the average daily case count peaked at 4,295. The figure has been mostly declining from late July, according to data compiled by JHU.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 25.5 million people globally, including over six million in the U.S., since it was first reported in Wuhan, China. Over 851,000 have died following infection, while more than 16.8 million have reportedly recovered, according to JHU.

coronavirus testing Atlanta, Georgia, July 2020
People stand in line to get tested for COVID-19 at a free walk-up testing site on July 11, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images