UA sees another slight rise in COVID-19 cases

UA+sees+another+slight+rise+in+COVID-19+cases

Hannah Saad and Rebecca Griesbach

Kelby Hutchison | @thetallcwrepor1, Contributing Writer

The University has reported a significant drop in COVID-19 cases in the past seven weeks, which plummeted by more than 700 since late August. But while recent reported cases have remained relatively low, the system’s dashboard has yet to show a consistent decline. 

This week the University reported 68 positive cases of COVID-19 among students, an increase from last week’s 34 cases. This brings the total caseload to 2,680 cases of COVID-19 among the student body since the beginning of the year.

Sentinel Tests

Sentinel testing results showed two positive cases of COVID-19 among the 507 students, faculty and staff tested. This is a minor increase from the zero reported positive cases of the 498 students, faculty and staff tested the week prior. While sentinel testing has increased in the past week, it still falls short of the 3% goal that was intended for the program. 

It is still unclear how many actual tests are being given out to students, faculty and staff at the University at this time. In response to an open records request made by The Crimson White in accordance with Alabama state statutes, the University claimed there was no responsive data on how many tests are being given each week. 

The Crimson White has made multiple attempts to get in contact with UA officials to clarify  what “responsive documents” entail. Officials have not responded to those requests.

Occupation of isolation spaces has risen again to 16 units in use from last week’s 13 spaces. The total number of isolation spaces still remains at 518 rooms available for students with positive test results. 

GuideSafe

This week, the University also announced the GuideSafe app, which will notify users if they have been in close contact with someone who later reports a positive COVID-19 test result. 

The app is anonymous and will not divulge who tested positive for COVID-19. The app is not mandatory at this time but is “encouraged,” according to a UA News release. 

Faculty and Staff

Also this week, there has been an increase in positive COVID-19 cases among faculty and staff at the University. Fourteen people have tested positive, up from nine cases last week. This brings the total to 108 positive cases among faculty and staff since the beginning of the school semester. 

The Student Health Center and Pharmacy will be open this weekend from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both Saturday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 25 for COVID-19 testing of symptomatic students. Students can call 205-348-0386 to set up an appointment. No drive-thru COVID-19 testing will be held.