The University of Alabama on Monday reported more than 500 cases of COVID-19 since classes resumed last week.
At least 531 students, faculty, and staff on the university’s main campus in Tuscaloosa have been infected with the virus, according to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard.
The numbers don’t include results from the entry testing conducted when the school restarted, which reportedly saw about 310 students test positive. On Monday morning, University of Alabama president Stuart Bell said that the students weren’t to blame for the increase in cases.
“Our challenge is not the students,” he said, according to AL.com. “Our challenge is the virus and there’s a difference, folks.”
“What we have to do is identify where does the virus thrive and where does the virus spread and how can we work together with our students, with our faculty, and with our staff to make sure that we minimize those places, those incidents,” Bell continued.
The entry positive test rate was reported at 1.04 percent out of the 29,938 tests administered, according to the dashboard. However, the numbers didn’t include those 310 positive tests during reentry. It’s not clear how many were tested from Aug. 19 through Aug. 23.
The City of Tuscaloosa announced hours earlier that it was taking new measures to slow the spread of the virus. Mayor Walt Maddox said bars will be closed for two weeks and bar service at restaurants would be suspended, according to the paper.
“They have made tough decisions, and I appreciate Mayor Walt Maddox and The University of Alabama leadership for tackling a serious problem as quickly as possible,” said Gov. Kay Ivey in a statement.
Isolation space at UA was reportedly at 19.78 percent occupancy. At least 566 cases were reported throughout the UA system.
“The cumulative figure includes positive tests on UA System campuses identified through sentinel testing, point of care testing in campus health centers, and self-reported tests from private providers,” the dashboard said.