Students in Alabama threw COVID-19 parties where infected students were invited and there was a contest over who would get it first, according to officials.
“The one thing that we have seen over the last few weeks is parties going on throughout the county … at several locations, where students or kids would come in with known positives,” Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith said at a briefing on Tuesday.
“We thought that was kind of a rumor at first, and then we did some additional research,” he said. “Not only did the doctors offices help confirm it, but the state confirmed they had also had the same information.”
Smith said it has been difficult tracking how many students have been infected, especially because some have out-of-state addresses and just go to school in Alabama.
Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry told news outlets that students not only intentionally invited infected people to the party. “They put money in a pot and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense,” McKinstry told ABC News. “They’re intentionally doing it.”
CBS News has reached out to McKinstry, Smith and Mayor Walt Maddox for more information.
According to Alabama Public Health, there have been 39,604 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state. At least 2,107 of those cases are in Tuscaloosa County and since March 13, there have been 2,835 coronavirus-related hospitalizations there. There have been 39 deaths in the county, according to the department of health.
During a city council meeting Tuesday, officials passed an ordinance requiring that face masks be worn in public to help slow the spread of coronavirus.