COVID-19 Update from the UMass Public Health Promotion Center: April 21

Dear Campus Community,

In addition to the PCR unobserved testing kits available at the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) in the Campus Center, starting today faculty, staff and students can now pick up free, antigen self-test kits. Individuals should continue to report their positive tests to testing@umass.edu.

The PHPC continues to offer COVID-19 vaccines to anyone who needs to be vaccinated. A second booster is available for anyone over the age of 50 and certain immunocompromised individuals at least four months after their first booster.

These boosters are available on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. through April 30. Walk-ins will be accepted, but we encourage everyone to book an appointment. Please visit the Massachusetts COVID-19 booster Frequently Asked Questions for additional information about eligibility.

We continue to monitor COVID-19 trends in the UMass community through our symptomatic, adaptive and voluntary testing program as well as wastewater surveillance. The latest COVID-19 testing data for the UMass community for April 13-19 shows 93 new positive cases. The university’s positivity rate is 3.50%, compared to last week’s rate of 4.26%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 4.34%. Individuals testing positive continue to report they are experiencing minimal to moderate symptoms of infection, and there are no hospitalizations to report.

As of April 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s order of requiring masks on public transportation, including PVTA buses, is no longer in effect. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time. We encourage everyone to respect the choices that individuals make about their own masking. KN95 masks remain available for free at the PHPC.

Please do a daily symptom check. If you are sick, stay home and get tested. Be aware that allergy symptoms can resemble those of COVID-19; when you are unsure, please wear a mask, get tested and use caution until you know the results. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please wear a mask and get tested on the fifth day after exposure.

Thank you for all that you’re doing — staying home when sick, testing when you have symptoms, and supporting each other as part of our community.

Sincerely,

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

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