UMass Amherst COVID-19 Dashboard

UMass Amherst COVID-19 Dashboard

Updated Dec. 8, 2022

This dashboard, updated each Wednesday, includes positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results, consistent with local state and federal reporting. However, unlike most publicly accessible COVID-19 dashboards, it also includes self-reported positive results from antigen (at-home) tests from members of our campus community.

Positive Tests for the Week of Nov. 27–Dec. 3

PCR Test Antigen Test
(at-home)
TOTAL
Student    5    28    33
Faculty/Staff    0    17    17
TOTAL    5    45    50

 

Wastewater Testing Results

UMass Amherst has been conducting research that regularly tests wastewater to detect the presence of SARS CoV2 (COVID-19). These data have been compiled by the university’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) in partnership with the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering, the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, the Town of Amherst, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The following chart is updated each Wednesday. The X axis shows the dates that wastewater samples were collected  for the campus and North Amherst and South Amherst . The Y axis shows  the SARS-CoV2 concentration as gene copy equivalents (GCE/L).

wastewater surveillance

 

Understanding Wastewater Data

How and where is the wastewater data collected?

The campus utilizes 24-hour passive samplers, which are deployed in main sewer lines on campus and in North Amherst and South Amherst and collected three times each week.

How does wastewater data correspond with the number of infected people?

Wastewater data can help track trends in the number of people that have COVID-19 in a community. However, the data cannot identify the number of infected persons corresponding to a particular concentration of GCEs detected in wastewater. One recent study suggested that an individual’s contribution to wastewater can vary from 1 million to 1 billion gene copies of virus/person/day. This value varies with symptom severity, disease progression, water use and individual differences. One person with very high levels of virus in their waste may contribute more virus to the wastewater than hundreds, or even thousands of people who excrete less virus. It is therefore not possible to estimate active infections in a community from wastewater concentration data.

Can differing values between other wastewater testing sites be compared?

It is challenging to compare data between testing locations. Differences in sampling protocols, viral RNA isolation and concentration methods, and signal amplification can all yield differences in absolute concentration produced by these methods. However, general assessment in the rise and fall of the trends can be useful in noting potential increases and decreases in community prevalence. While trends can be qualitatively compared across sites, absolute concentrations from different sites — or even the same site using different sampling techniques and viral isolation and concentration protocols — cannot be directly compared.

Testing for the Campus Community

Students, faculty, staff and members of their households who need COVID-19 testing because they have symptoms, were exposed to COVID-19 or had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 can either take an antigen (at-home) test or visit University Health Services (UHS) for a PCR test.

Testing will be billed to an individual’s insurance, and most insurance companies cover COVID-19 testing administered for health reasons at no additional cost to you. Students, faculty and staff should continue to report their positive test results to testing@umass.edu. The campus continues to make available free antigen at-home test kits and KN95 masks until our supply runs out. Two free kits or KN95 Masks per week can be obtained by visiting the vending machines located at the lower level of the Campus Center and at UHS.