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:
HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Looking ahead to 2020, Hoover looks to capitalize on big plans.
Mayor Frank Brocato said he has a lot of projects, both big and small, he is excited to work on next year, but perhaps the biggest takeaway from a conversation with CBS 42’s Alissa Rothermich was that plans are in the works for the former Sears at the Riverchase Galleria and just a year from now, things could look very different. The Galleria is one of the state’s most popular shopping destinations, but in October, Sears closed.
Brocato said the closure of the anchor store has opened the door for re-development. City officials are now doing a study and talking about turning the site into a performing arts center.
“That’s kind of a missing link that we don’t have in the city and that’s a wonderful opportunity to have somewhere for our great performances,” Brocato said.
There is a lot of energy surrounding that idea and a desire to make it quickly happen.
“I think you’re looking at something in the next 12-15 months,” he said. “It’s coming. We have an idea. We have the Galleria ownership excited about it.”
The city will also begin talks with the SEC in 2020, working to keep the annual baseball tournament in Hoover after the current contract expires in 2021. The tournament brings in anywhere from $15 million to $18 million per year with last year setting records for attendance.
“The last bid process was very competitive,” said Gene Hallman. “Nashville and Memphis, Jacksonville and New Orleans all submitted very aggressive bids so we’re not taking anything for granted.”
One way local leaders are working to solidify Hoover’s stamp on the tournament is to expand the youth baseball tournament that runs in conjunction with the SEC baseball championship. This year, 40-50 teams from the SEC footprint are expected to compete. The primary intent of this is to drive tourism and awareness for the SEC baseball tournament.
Traffic throughout the city is a hot-button issue for commuters. While the mayor admits easing the gridlock on Hwy. 280 is “a tough nut to crack,” Hoover does have a plan for the Highway 150 and I-459 corridor with a new interchange is now slated for South Shades Crest Road.
“We believe that will relieve traffic on South Shades Crest Road and Hwy. 150 as well as the Ross Bridge community that will help the entire western part of Hoover,” Brocato said.
The city has already purchased land and is now looking to purchase over 20 additional acres to make the interchange a reality
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Many are looking forward to the 78th Magic City Classic this weekend, but will rain ruin the fun?
It’s the largest HBCU football classic in the nation, drawing crowds in the tens of thousands. And even with a 60% chance of rain looming over the festivities, organizers say they’re keeping a close eye on everything.
“I sense this could be the most excitement we’ve had for Magic City Classic in a long time,” says Gene Hallman with Bruno Event Team.
And there’s a lot to be excited about. The bands, the game, not to mention the tailgating. And this year, the celebrities!
“But this year with Shaquille O’Neal being the ambassador and then 2 Chainz performing right after the game, that entertainment value is taking this classic to a whole new level,” says Hallman.
Hallman says he hopes the rain won’t play a starring role. “We’re talking to the weather meteorologists on a frequent basis, but the rain could be intermittent.”
He says the only thing that could seriously postpone things would be lightning. “And we’ll be monitoring that closely and if lightning gets close to either these events, the parade or the game, then we’ll have delays accordingly. But right now everything’s on go!” said Hallman.
The good news is we’re not expecting much lightning this weekend, but you never know how the rain will affect the crowds. They are expecting between 60-65,000 people, with tickets sold in over 30 states.
“Alums from all over the country are reuniting here in Birmingham and filling up our hotels and our restaurants. Creates an economic impact of more than $20 million for the metro area,” said Hallman.
Expecting a large turnout for something that has grown to be more than just a football game.
Umbrellas are not allowed in Legion Field, but folks can bring ponchos. Be sure to download the WBRC Weather app to keep up with the forecast. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.