University of Tennessee stressing COVID-19 testing as cases continue decline

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Positive COVID-19 cases among students and employees at the University of Tennessee have been declining in recent days.

The university reported on Friday that there are 412 active cases of COVID-19 on campus as of Thursday according to the latest data provided on the UT COVID-19 web dashboard. Of that 412, 398 are students and 14 are employees.

UT reported 645 active cases on Monday.

There are now 1,540 students and employees in self-isolation, which includes 802 residential students, 631 non-residential students and 107 employees. That is 547 less than the number of self-isolations reported Monday.

Chancellor Donde Plowman said UT is ramping up testing including saliva and wastewater testing and the results of those tests should be available next week.

The university is focusing on testing since many are mistaking COVID-19 symptoms for the flu or allergies.

“Many, too seldom associate their mild symptoms with COVID-19,” Student Health Center Director Dr. Spencer Gregg said during Plowman’s virtual briefing Friday. “They often want to believe that their symptoms are tied to something more benign. Their headache or their mild congestion or their allergies. They’re not excessively fatigued, it’s just from work and class. They continue with their normal day in, day out activities without acknowledging that their mild illness may actually be COVID and then they’re spreading it all the while.

“Most members of our community are doing the right things, but some are not. With this infection, we all have to be involved in stopping it.”

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