Over 1,000 University of Alabama students test positive for Covid-19 in less than two weeks since reopening

The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa holds the lion's share with 1,201 students testing positive while its campuses at Birmingham and Huntsville have recorded 157 and 10 cases, respectively


                            Over 1,000 University of Alabama students test positive for Covid-19 in less than two weeks since reopening
(Getty Images)

In less than two weeks since reopening for in-person classes, more than 1,000 students at the University of Alabama have tested positive for Covid-19. This is despite implementing "appropriate and effective" control measures across the three campuses. Before reopening, the university confirmed 305 positive cases across the campuses.

About 1,062 more have been added to the tally since Wednesday, August 19. The total count stands at 1,367, according to data from the school's dashboard. None of the students have been hospitalized so far. “Our exposure notification efforts have revealed no evidence of virus transmission due to in-person class instruction," Dr Ricky Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences at UA, said in a statement. "We remain satisfied that the precautions implemented prior to the resumption of classes – including masking, distancing, and a blend of in-person and remote instruction – are appropriate and effective.”

The University of Alabama (UA) in Tuscaloosa holds the lion's share with 1,201 students testing positive. The other campuses at Birmingham and Huntsville have recorded 157 and 10 cases, respectively. About 82 staff have been confirmed with the infection across all three campuses. Students now have the option of moving to fully online instruction at any time — either at home or on-campus, the press statement read.

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“We have the most robust testing regimen of any entity in the state, giving us a clear picture of virus spread and informing our decisions," UA System Chancellor Finis St John said in a statement. "Fortunately, our isolation occupancy is below capacity, and the number will be adjusted as students complete the isolation period. We are closely monitoring our data daily, and we will continue to adjust operations as the situation warrants.” Dr Selwyn Vickers, Dean of the School of Medicine at UAB and co-chair of the UA System Health and Safety Task Force, said compliance with public health guidelines is crucial to limiting the spread. “With all the efforts and tools we have provided college campuses for safe entry, none are more crucial than students following the basic public health principles of social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding large groups.”

Following the rising Covid-19 cases at the University of Alabama, Mayor Walt Maddox issued an executive order on Monday, August 24. Until Tuesday, September 8, bars in the City of Tuscaloosa will suspend on-premise consumption of alcohol. Restaurants will eliminate bar service, but they may be able to serve alcoholic beverages only to those seated at a table. Chancellor St John thanked Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and city officials for their announcement Monday to close bars for two weeks. “We remain concerned that off-campus transmission is our greatest risk, which is why we asked Mayor Maddox to consider that action. We thank him for making that difficult decision to protect our campus community and Tuscaloosa.” The city will follow the Safer at Home Order. The state officer has urged people to minimize travel and follow control measures such as wearing a mask or face-covering in public places and while coming into close contact with others.

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