I want to express my deepest thanks to UAB students, faculty and staff as well as our partners and friends throughout Alabama for your continued efforts to flatten the curve of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. In these trying times for our nation and the world, we are heartened daily at seeing the pervasive vigilance, sacrifice and support necessary to press on and prevail in this unprecedented crisis. We can all contribute to slowing the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing. As of the morning of March 25, UAB is treating at least 60 COVID-19 positive inpatients (up from 45 yesterday) and at least 75 inpatients who are under investigation awaiting test results — for a total of at least 135 patients in beds, 34 of whom are on ventilators. I want to add a very special thanks and tribute to our health care heroes on the front lines in our hospital and other clinical facilities. Further, community spread is here in Alabama, and we are taking aggressive action to slow it.

uab social distancing video

  This video message to the Blazer family encourages everyone to practice aggressive social distancing and good hygiene so we can “flatten the curve” and save lives.

UAB remains on the front lines of combating this pandemic, as we continue conducting research on potential treatments, treating patients and working diligently to minimize and mitigate the spread of coronavirus. We have partnered with the Jefferson County Department of Health to establish our community’s first appointment-based COVID-19 testing site that opened this past Monday, and we are offering scheduled employee testing (UAB health-side employees who have had an exposure should begin by filling out this form and university-side employees should first call 205-975-1881 for screening). In our medical center, we are implementing our Health System plans for outbreaks and pandemics, procuring needed equipment, and drawing on decades of training in safely isolating and caring for patients with infectious diseases. We also continue working with our local and state departments of health, the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County, EMA and other health care providers to protect the health of all Alabamians.

UAB is also on the front lines of disseminating vital public information locally, nationally and internationally, starting with the updates and FAQs on our central COVID-19 information site, uab.edu/news/coronavirus. Our renowned faculty are serving on Governor Ivey's COVID-19 Task Force, conducting regular press conferences and appearing as experts in local, regional and national outlets such as the New York Times, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and the Washington Post.

On our campus, we have taken unprecedented measures for these unprecedented times. In keeping with the UA System’s decisive and proactive planning, UAB has instituted aggressive measures such as online/alternative instruction for the duration of spring semester, a virtual/alternative commencement ceremony, a limited business model calling for most employees to work from home and strict social distancing guidelines. I thank our dedicated faculty and staff for adapting so readily to these circumstances and continuing their mission-critical work, whether they are working remotely or are among the few essential employees still present on campus.

UAB is deeply grateful for the support of the people of Alabama whom we serve. If you would like to contribute to our efforts to combat coronavirus and its impact, three funds are in place for you to do so at www.uab.edu/news/coronavirus/giving: The UAB Coronavirus Response Support Fund supports COVID-19 research and treatment development, patient and clinical care support, supplies and resources; the Student Government Association COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fund provides relief to students who need emergency aid due to unexpected expenses caused by the ongoing COVID-19 situation; and our Benevolent Fund continues assisting UAB employees in need through our Employee Emergency Assistance Fund, including those affected by the pandemic. Your gifts to these funds will make a big difference in the lives of patients as well as our students and employees hit particularly hard by this crisis.

During UAB’s 50th anniversary last year, we celebrated the strong partnership with our community and state that has enabled us to collectively meet challenges and achieve great successes over five decades. That same partnership — all of us striving together and supporting one another in a united front — will also enable us to overcome this urgent challenge. We can, and will, carry the day together, as we look forward to a brighter tomorrow for our state and nation in the weeks to come and beyond.