UA positive cases surpass 500 in five days

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CW / Tomia Teague

The University of Alabama System released results of COVID-19 testing on Monday, showing The University of Alabama has had 531 cumulative cases among students, faculty and staff since August 19. 

The UA System dashboard for this data originally showed 568 positive cases at the University since Jan. 1 when it went online at 5 p.m. It was later updated to show 531 cases at the University. 

Currently, the University of Alabama’s positive cases account for about 94% of cumulative positive cases system-wide. 

The University of Alabama – 531

The University of Alabama at Birmingham – 6

UAB Clinical Enterprise Employees – 21

The University of Alabama at Huntsville – 8

The occupancy of isolation space for COVID-19-positive students at the University is at 19.78% capacity. The University has arranged for more than 450 beds to be available for isolation purposes. 

The cumulative figure includes positive tests on UA System campuses identified through sentinel testing, point-of-care testing in campus health centers and self-reported tests from private providers. Entry testing is not included in this calculation.

Of the 29,938 UA students who were tested before returning to campus, there were 310 positive for the virus, showing a 1.04% positive rate. 

Now that entry testing is complete, the University will begin sentinel testing, which is random testing of the campus population. Sentinel testing will be voluntary for most of the UA campus population. Students who live in on-campus residential housing or participate in University-sponsored extracurricular activities will be required to participate in sentinel testing.

This data comes after Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and UA President Stuart Bell held a press conference announcing new measures being implemented to slow the spread of the virus.

Bars in Tuscaloosa will be closed for two weeks and bar services at restaurants will be suspended until Sept. 8. 

Ricky Friend, dean of UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, said at the press conference the University plans to test 1,000 students per day as it begins sentinel testing this week. Its testing will target “locations where geographic spread has been documented.” 

Last week, new restrictions were implemented on campus that aimed to restrict access to Greek housing and other housing and residential communities, prohibit student events on campus for 14 days, limit meal services for both resident and non-resident members to grab and go, prohibit off-campus gatherings and issue heightened consequences for those who host such events.