Two weekends ago, pictures and videos of large gatherings in Tuscaloosa, Alabama took over social media. Yesterday, the University of Alabama reported 531 new cases of the coronavirus since classes began on August 19. Those numbers don’t include the 310 students who tested positive before arriving on campus. As a result, the mayor of Tuscaloosa is shutting down bars for two weeks, and the president of the university issued a moratorium on student gatherings on and off campus.
“Although our initial re-entry test was encouraging, the rise in COVID cases that we’ve seen in recent days is unacceptable and if unchecked threatens our ability to complete the semester on campus,” University of Alabama President Stuart Bell said at a news conference Friday, via ABC News.
According to the UA COVID-19 Dashboard, Alabama’s student positivity rate is 1.04%. and 19.78% of the isolation space is currently occupied, but officials are expecting those numbers to rise.
“A question we all want to know is are we at the breaking point?” Alabama president Stuart Bell said Monday, via AL.com. “What’s the lever that’s going to cause us to have to change it. Basically, I think it goes back to flattening this curve, so we are able to accommodate our current operations and make sure we are able to keep the students healthy. So, there really is no single answer. I don’t want to point you all to look at this graph or look at this data and know we can draw a line and say this is what we’re going to do because it’s a very dynamic situation — very dynamic over the weekend as we saw positive cases increasing to again, today, cause us to take more steps. We’re going to continue to do that.”