COVID-19 Update from the UMass Public Health Promotion Center

Dear Campus Community:

The Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) is closely monitoring the results of the UMass Amherst COVID-19 testing program. For the third consecutive week we have seen a reduction in the positive cases.

The latest data covering Sept. 29 through Oct. 6 shows 21 new positive cases. In the previous three weeks there were 40, 105 and 380 cases. The positive cases were detected through mandatory testing of unvaccinated faculty, staff and students who have exemptions; voluntary asymptomatic testing; symptomatic testing; and adaptive testing of selected subpopulations. There has been an almost 95% reduction in cases over the past month. The university’s cumulative seven-day positivity rate is now down to 0.33%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 1.83%.

Positive cases are predominately among undergraduate students connected to un-masked social activities. Most cases are of short duration resulting in mild-to-moderate illness. There is one staff member currently hospitalized. Details about case counts and vaccinations can be found on the university’s COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated every Thursday.

Last week we also launched the twice-weekly flu vaccination clinics at the PHPC on the lower level of the Campus Center. UMass students, faculty and staff can schedule their flu vaccination appointments through the Campus Health HubFlu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others against influenza.

The campus also announced that eligible Massachusetts residents can access the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot. Please visit the UMass COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic website to determine if you are eligible and to schedule an appointment by going to the Vaccine Appointment Scheduling page. Currently individuals need to make appointments for flu or COVID-19 vaccines, but shortly the campus will be offering walk-in clinics.

We continue to be extremely encouraged with the downward trend in the positivity rate and cases. Please maintain vigilance in following all public health protocols, including wearing masks indoors and while outdoors when social distancing is not possible. Everyone must continue to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms every day before coming to campus. If you feel unwell, stay home, and get tested.  Testing is free and readily available at the Public Health Promotion Center.

Please remember that the steps you take make an important difference. Continue to care for yourselves and one another.

Sincerely,

Co-Directors of the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC)

Ann Becker, Public Health Director
Jeffrey Hescock, Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety