Auburn University reported a significant decline in new self-reported COVID-19 cases and positivity rate among its campus community last week.
The university said that 53 new virus cases were reported to the school during the week ending on Sept. 20, about half as many as the previous week. The school also reported a 0 percent positivity rate among those tested through its sentinel testing, according to data released Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re really having, right now, a bit of a lull, which is a good thing,” Dr. Fred Kam, director of the Auburn University Medical Clinic, said about the number of new virus cases on campus. “They’re (COVID-19 cases) down because people are taking the extra efforts to do all of the preventive measures, as well as the leaders, are making the tough decisions to do things to mitigate the spread of the virus thus resulting in lower numbers.”
Of the 53 self-reported cases, 52 were reported on its main campus and one was reported at the Auburn University airport. There have been 1,330 self-reported COVID-19 cases since Aug. 17, according to Auburn University data.
The university said 109 campus community members self-reported positive COVID-19 tests during the week ending on Sept. 13. It also reported a 1.8 percent positivity rate during the same timeframe among those tested through sentinel testing.
Kam hopes that the latest numbers will be just the beginning of a decline in COVID-19 cases among community members, but he said this week is the week he will or won’t see a spike in cases due to Labor Day weekend.
“This week it would be great if we have a week like the last couple of weeks, but this was the week that we said if there was going to be a spike related to Labor Day it was this week when it was going to happen,” he explained.
Data provided Tuesday represents students, employees and contractors who self-reported positive test results to Auburn University and those who tested positive through the AU GuideSafe Sentinel testing, according to the school's COVID-19 data dashboard.
Auburn University tested 159 people through the sentinel testing program last week, the lowest total tested through the program since it began soon after Labor Day weekend. A total of 1,109 Auburn students, faculty and staff have been tested through the program since it began.
Kam explained that sentinel testing gives campus leaders a good idea of whether or not the virus is spreading throughout the community. The program selects random members of the Auburn University community to be tested for COVID-19 each week, the university said.
Participating in the sentinel testing is not mandatory but is highly encouraged, especially by Kam.
“We really need members of the Auburn community to participate when you are asked because it is voluntary,” he said. “But when you’re asked to come in for sentinel testing, please don’t brush it off, make every effort to be part of this process.”
Less than 20 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were reported Monday across east Alabama counties, according to Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) data.
Lee County had the most new confirmed and probable cases on Monday with six new confirmed and six new probable virus cases. There were 3,800 confirmed virus cases and 1,965 probable cases for a combined total of 5,765 virus cases in Lee County as of Tuesday night.
Chambers and Tallapoosa counties each added one confirmed and one probable case, Macon County added one probable case and Russell County added two confirmed cases on Monday, according to APDH data.
The following is a look at the total number of confirmed cases, probable cases and combined total cases for other east Alabama counties:
- Chambers County – 880 confirmed, 260 probable, 1,140 combined
- Macon County – 428 confirmed, 51 probable, 479 combined
- Russell County – 1,625 confirmed, 105 probable, 1,730 combined
- Tallapoosa County – 972 confirmed, 167 probable, 1,139 combined
The following is the average number of new confirmed cases, excluding probable cases, in east Alabama counties over the past 14 days:
- Chambers County — 1
- Lee County – 18
- Macon County — 1
- Russell County — 5
- Tallapoosa County — 2
There were 131,988 confirmed cases, 14,596 probable cases and 2,304 virus-related deaths in Alabama as of Tuesday night, according to ADPH. The combined total of virus cases in the state was 146,584.
Of the 2,304 reported deaths, 40 are from Chambers County, 49 from Lee County, 17 from Macon County, two from Russell County and 83 from Tallapoosa County.
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