September 4, 2020
For Immediate Release
Today, the University of Alabama System updated the COVID dashboard summarizing results of student, faculty and staff testing at UA, UAB and UAH for August 28-September 3.
“The data across the System’s three campuses shows that the UA System Health & Safety Plan is working,” said Dr. Richard Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences at the University of Alabama. UAB had only 19 student positives this week and UAH had seven student positives. Sentinel testing, which is ongoing at UAB and UAH, will begin at UA next week.
This week The University of Alabama reported 846 student positives, which represents a decline in daily averages since the last report. Yesterday, September 3, student positives had dropped to 65 for the day.
“We expected higher testing numbers at UA until the impact of the bar closures and the moratorium on campus social events could make a difference,” Dr. Friend said. “We are starting to see the results of those decisions.”
Across the UA System, isolation capacity remains strong, with UA stabilizing under 40%, UAB at 4%, and UAH at 12.9%. As outlined in the Health & Safety plans, additional space will be brought on- line if needed. Vacancy rates in isolation facilities are expected to increase as students who have completed the isolation protocol are cleared to return to their regular housing.
Among faculty and staff, numbers remain low, with only 19 faculty and staff in the System testing positive, excluding UAB’s clinical enterprise personnel. The low numbers of faculty and staff positives are reinforced by the fact that there is no evidence of COVID transmission in the classroom setting.
The UA System announced today that the Bruno Event Team will provide call support for the UA COVID hotline (205-348-CV19), as well as COVID Concierge Services to those currently in the isolation and quarantine protocol. Bruno Event Team, which will work under the direction of UA Vice President of Student Life Dr. Myron Pope, is a national leader in event management and has handled logistics for the Testing for Alabama initiative, which provides free COVID-19 entry and sentinel testing for higher education institutions across the state.
In statements released this week, leading medical experts in the UA System cautioned against closing campuses and sending students home en masse. Drs. Selwyn Vickers and Michael Saag emphasized the safety provided by on-campus resources and the risk of COVID-spread caused by emptying our campuses.
Dr. Vickers is UAB Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean of the School of Medicine. Dr. Saag is associate dean of Global Health in the UAB School of Medicine and a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases. Link to their statements: https://uasystem.edu/assets/2020/09/Press-release-2020Sept2-2.pdf