A Bryant-Denny stadium coronavirus outbreak has put the safety of construction crews and contractors working on the University of Alabama renovation project at risk, AL.com learned.
More than 10 people have tested positive for COVID-19, according to people familiar with the epidemic, but the number could be much higher. With so many exposures, it is feared that more positive cases linked to the site are inevitable.
The large number of positive tests basically means that everyone on the job site could have been exposed.
Caddell Construction of Montgomery is the general contractor for the renovation of the Alabama stadium. A message for the company was not returned on Wednesday. Work on the stadium was briefly halted this weekend for a thorough cleanup, according to a statement the firm supplied to The Tuscaloosa News, but workers were on site Monday.
When AL.com visited the stadium on Wednesday, only a handful of workers were spotted on a site that numbered up to a few hundred.
Michael Hebron, owner of Rama Jama’s restaurant across the street from the stadium, said he saw a long line of stadium construction workers lined up to take COVID-19 tests on Monday.
“It was a huge queue,” Hebron said Wednesday.
The site is from a ghost town.
The stadium is undergoing a $ 107 million renovation with the first game of the season slated for September 12. Additional delays could leave work incomplete before the start of the season. Renovation began in November and the coronavirus epidemic was not the first incident on the site. Falling beams injured two workers in January.
The University of Alabama has emphasized appropriate safety precautions on campus and has provided protective equipment and supplies, according to a statement:
“Since the start of the pandemic, UA has always demanded that our contractors on campus take all necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The contractors immediately adapted operations and processes, engaged in intensive cleaning, and took other protective measures for the health and safety of their employees. The University directly supplied sanitary supplies, thermometers and signage to all construction sites and made personal protective equipment available to all contractors. These processes, which have been in place since early March, are continuously refined on the basis of the latest directives from heads of state, federal government and industry to protect the health and safety of the campus community. “
* Original story updated with a statement from Alabama. Michael Casagrande of AL.com contributed to this report.