By WVUA 23 News Reporter Kayla Smith
Widespread student COVID-19 testing has revealed consistent statewide results and a low positive test rate, according to testing company GuideSafe.
GuideSafe Entry Testing Services has administered 75,000 tests to individuals across Alabama.
GuideSafe Entry Testing Services Executive Director Bob Phillips said so far less than 1% of tests have come back positive.
“We look at it holistically as we are a big tool but not the only tool for students to get those test completed, and as we continue on through the end of our entry period, we expect to see those number continue to grow,” Phillips said.
University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Infectious Disease Director Dr. Mike Saag said he attributes the current low positive test rate to the mask ordinance put in place by Gov. Kay Ivey three weeks ago.
With students back in school, however, Saag said foresees a potential increase in case numbers.
“What we’re concerned about, what we have to monitor for is asymptomatic transmission happening in schools to parents and even grandparents who have contact with children going to schools, and if that’s the case, we should start seeing the numbers going up over the next three or four weeks,” Saag said. “We don’t know what we are going to see, but that’s one of the advantages of testing.”
To combat the potential spread of COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will fund a community testing program.
COVID-19 testing centers are scheduled to open in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties in the next couple weeks. Tests will be available on a first come first served basis.