More than 10 members of a construction crew working to renovate Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium have reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to Al.com, an outbreak among the construction crew and subcontractors working on the football stadium took place in recent days. Due to the proximity of the work environment, the number of individuals affected is feared to be “much higher” than the figure that has been currently reported.
More than 10 people have tested positive for COVID-19, according to people familiar with the outbreak, but the number could be much higher. With so many exposures and a lack of transparency about the outbreak, there is a fear that more positive cases linked to the job site are inevitable.
The Tuscaloosa News reported Tuesday night that work on the project was “briefly suspended last weekend after an undisclosed number of workers” tested positive for the coronavirus. Work resumed on Monday.
Caddell Construction Company, the Montgomery-based contractor employed for the $107 million renovation project, told the Tuscaloosa News in a statement that “deep cleaning” and “testing” took place before workers returned to the job site.
“The safety of all of our employees and trade partners is our top priority,” Caddell said. “In addition to adhering to all established protocols to protect our workers, Caddell restricted operations over the past weekend after receiving notice of positive tests among some employees and trade partners. This allowed us to engage in additional deep-cleaning and provide testing by an independent laboratory so all of our team members could be cleared before returning to the job site. Our processes meet and/or exceed OSHA and CDC guidelines. We will continue to act on the latest guidance and information to promote the health and safety of our essential workforce.”
The University of Alabama said in a statement that it has “mandated” the “necessary steps” meant to help prevent the spread of the virus. All contractors “engaged in heightened cleaning” and “took other protective measures” to ensure a safe working environment, the school said.
The university’s full statement is below:
From the start of the pandemic, UA has continuously mandated that our campus contractors take all necessary steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The contractors immediately adapted operations and processes, engaged in heightened cleaning, and took other protective measures for the health and safety of their employees. The University directly provided sanitation supplies, thermometers, and signage at all construction sites, and made personal protective equipment available to all contractors. Those processes, which have been in place since early March, are continuously refined based on the latest guidance from state, federal and industry leaders in order to protect the health and safety of the campus community.
Alabama officials have hoped the renovation project would be completed for the Crimson Tide’s scheduled home opener against Georgia State on Sept. 12. Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said last week that the project remains on schedule to be completed before that time, despite the ongoing issues associated with the coronavirus.
Per Al.com, the project includes adding a tunnel “from the walk of champions directly into the Crimson Tide locker room,” renovating the stadium’s luxury seating and replacing the stadium’s four video boards.
Bryant-Denny Stadium seats 101,821.
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