UA publishes new mask requirement; DCH cases are increasing rapidly


TUSCALOOSA, AL – The University of Alabama announced Thursday that it will begin requiring indoor face coverings on the Tuscaloosa campus starting Friday, which comes amid a worrying and gradual increase in new cases of coronavirus and hospitalizations.

In the most recent update, the university pointed out that the mask requirement applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Exceptions will be made when the person is socially distant indoors or works alone in private offices and workspaces, in addition to eating, drinking, exercising and teaching at the faculty. However, to do this, professors must be distanced and behind plexiglass.

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Thursday’s announcement came as DCH Health System reported 91 hospitalized patients positive for the coronavirus, marking the system’s highest total since February 8.

Fast local facts

  • In the past two weeks, 10 coronavirus positive patients have died while receiving treatment at DCH, none of whom were residents of Tuscaloosa County.
  • After affecting 26 coronavirus patients in intensive care on Wednesday, Thursday’s number has moved in a positive direction as the total number has fallen overnight to 21.
  • From Thursday’s data update from the Alabama Department of Public Health, officials reported 16 different “variants of concern” in the western Alabama region.
  • Tuscaloosa County School System and Schools of the city of Tuscaloosa both stopped issuing mask warrants for students and faculty before the school year begins in less than two weeks.

Thursday’s coronavirus hospitalization data from DCH Health System (DCH)

What is most disturbing, however, is the rate of registration of new hospitalizations by DCH, as the overall system total rose from 25 on July 25 to 91 on Thursday.

DCH has stressed in recent weeks that the current peak could have been “largely preventable”, due to the widespread availability of the vaccine. However, Tuscaloosa – as well as the rest of the country – has been slow to trust the vaccine, although DCH has reported that more than 90% of new hospitalizations are unvaccinated patients. This is in line with national and national trends, as public health officials, including at the University of Alabama, continue to advocate for the public to do what they can individually to help curb the disease. spread.

“Vaccinations are the key to a successful fall semester and the key to getting past these types of demands,” said Dr Ricky Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences. “Everyone is strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. Data continues to show that vaccines offer very strong protection against serious illness and hospitalization.”

An overview of trends in coronavirus hospitalizations statewide as of Thursday (Alabama Department of Public Health)

According to the latest immunization data from the state health department, 80,073 Tuscaloosa County residents had received at least one injection in their vaccine series as of Thursday, while 65,933 completed the vaccination process. While this represents notable progress, the totals are still well below half of the population of Metropolitan Tuscaloosa.

Friend then explained the current incentives for students to receive the vaccine, with students uploading proof qualifying for $ 20 Bama Cash.

“Our vaccine numbers among faculty and staff are high – the percentage of vaccines more than doubles the number statewide,” he said. “We are still learning about the students who were vaccinated over the summer and will provide increased vaccination opportunities closer to school. Again, vaccination is the key.

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