Five days after releasing initial COVID-19 test results, the University of Alabama revealed Round 2 on Friday evening and the numbers are rising.
There were 481 positive tests among students on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday UA announced just after 5 p.m. CT Friday. Updated numbers show 562 students tested positive from Aug. 19-Aug. 24. That means 1,043 students have tested positive since classes resumed.
The updated dashboard shows nine faculty/staff members have positive tests since Aug. 19.
In terms of isolation space, 36.09% of the beds are occupied after sitting at 19.78 percent Monday.
The numbers were better at the two other UA campuses. UAB and UA-Huntsville had just 10 positive tests apiece among students since Aug. 19.
The Friday evening news followed another eventful week on the Tuscaloosa campus grappling with how to handle the rising case number.
The City of Tuscaloosa closed bars for two weeks after images of packed establishments were tied to the rapid spread. A third dorm was cleared of residents to create more quarantine space at Burke West Residence Hall on top of the 450 bed already on campus.
Alabama president Stuart Bell wrote to students Sunday saying the rise in positive cases was “unacceptable” as they worked to keep in-person learning an option for the fall semester. The bar closure executive order from mayor Walt Maddox came the following day.
The school has offered testing at Coleman Coliseum for symptomatic students or those exposed to someone with the coronavirus. Bell said they would have the capacity to test up to 1,000 students per day at the arena that houses Alabama’s basketball and gymnastics programs.
DCH Hospital in Tuscaloosa reported it had 55 inpatients being treated for COVID-19 on Friday — its lowest total in August when it peeked at 106 on Aug. 4. The hospital does not note the age or affiliation of those being treated.
A few other large schools released numbers Friday that provides context for Alabama’s caseload. The University of Iowa reported 607 positive tests among students since classes began Aug. 18, a day before UA.
South Carolina has 553 active cases among students with 12.7 percent of those tested Wednesday and Thursday coming back positive.
UAB infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Saag on Thursday said the rapid rise after so few tested positive upon return to campus speaks to the trouble COVID-19 creates.
“It’s reminding us how very infectious the virus really is and we’re really never 100 percent safe,” Saag said. “And it’s going to require us to have vigilance every single day in terms of keeping this virus at bay because if we give it a chance to have an opportunity to infect, it’s going to take every advantage of that.”
This post will be updated.