Students in Alabama’s Tuscaloosa County has been throwing ‘COVID parties’ around the city and the county over the past few weeks as part of a game aiming to infect more people with the coronavirus, according to a city council member.

Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith confirmed the activities Tuesday in a briefing to the City Council. Smith said they initially thought them to be rumors but decided on a research to get to the bottom of things.

 "We did some research. Not only do the doctors' offices confirm it but the state confirmed they also had the same information," ABC News quoted Smith as saying. Smith, however, refrained from naming the students.

Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry told the publication that the organizers have been purposely inviting guests with positive COVID-19 status to take part in a contest that challenges individuals to catch the virus before others.

"They put money in a pot and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense," the publication quoted McKinstry as saying. "They're intentionally doing it."

Smith, who wore a face-covering in the briefing, didn’t state what measures were being taken to curb such activities from happening in the future and also stayed away from naming the schools to which the students belonged.

It was not known if any recent cases were reported with links to the parties. McKinstry feared some people who attended the parties might have been unaware of the potential exposure to infected guests.

"We're trying to break up any parties that we know of," McKinstry told ABC News.

Arrol Sheehan, spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Public Health said whoever flouts the state’s "Safer at Home Order," which requires people to spend 14 days of quarantine at their residence after testing positive, is to face a misdemeanor charge along with a penalty worth $500 for each violation.

Tuscaloosa, the seven-largest city in Alabama, is home to The University of Alabama and several other colleges but any school wasn’t named specifically by any of the city officials.

Just hours after the briefing, members of the city council have unanimously agreed upon an ordinance which will require people to wear face masks whenever out in public.

CoronavirusTest To be able to stop virus spread, the U.S. will have to ramp up coronavirus testings. Photo: Public Domain