The party-hosts, mainly in the city of Tuscaloosa but also in some surrounding areas, have deliberately invited people who had tested positive for the CCP virus, ABC News reported, citing City Councilor Sonya McKinstry.
“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 the outlet. “They’re intentionally doing it.”
Other officials also confirmed parties held by several college students to the City Council on Tuesday. Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith told council members at first the department didn’t believe it and thought it must be rumors, but he said after some research, they found out the parties were real.
“We did some research. Not only do the doctors’ offices confirm it but the state confirmed they also had the same information,” Smith said.
No information was released as to whether the students who tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus had passed it on to anyone else after attending the parties.
Smith didn’t say whether action would be taken against the students. It is also unclear which schools the students attended, though Smith noted at least some of the students were from out of state.
“We’re trying to break up any parties that we know of,” McKinstry told the outlet.
A fire department spokeswoman refused to release a statement to ABC News on Wednesday with additional information about what was said.
The discovery comes as multiple other U.S. states have been experiencing record spikes in CCP virus cases in recent weeks.
Tuscaloosa is home to the University of Alabama as well as several other colleges and has seen a spike in cases, with a total of 384 people testing positive in the last week, according to the Department of Public Health.
In total, 22,093 people have had COVID-19 tests in the city so far, and 2,049 have been confirmed positive with the virus. So far, 38 people have died.
City Council members in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of mandatory face coverings, following similar rulings in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Mobile, Montgomery, and Selma.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced on June 30 she is extending the current “Safer at Home” order through the end of July, after it was set to expire on July 3. It will now be in effect until 5 p.m. on July 31.
Alabama health official Dr. Scott Harris urged residents to wear face coverings, although they are not mandatory in states that have not voted in favor of them.
“Dr. Harris and I could order you to wear a mask but it would be next to impossible to enforce,” Ivey said. “But, you know, you shouldn’t have to order somebody to do what is just in your own best interest and, better, the folks that you care about—your family, friends, and neighbors.”
For the past week, Alabama has seen a spike in new CCP virus cases on a daily basis, with hospitalizations at their highest level since the pandemic began, according to officials.
The state has recorded a total of 38,442 cases, with a total of 906 in the last 24 hours, according to data provided by the state Department of Public Health. A total of 18,866 people have recovered from the disease, with 2,892 of those in the past week. At least 947 people have died since the start of the pandemic.
Record rises in COVID-19 cases were also reported this week in Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming.