COVID-19 Update from the UMass Public Health Promotion Center: March 31

Dear Campus Community,

As a reminder, please note that today is the last day that UMass Amherst will serve as a Stop the Spread community testing site. We again would like to thank all the student employees, staff, supporters and community members who participated in this program and the Baker-Polito administration for financial support that enabled the program.

The UMass Amherst testing center will continue to be open and available to faculty, staff, students and members of their household, and university sponsored visitors. All eligible individuals can continue to come to the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) to pick up testing kits as needed.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control updated its recommendations to allow people over the age of 50 and certain immunocompromised individuals to receive a second mRNA booster shot at least four months after their first booster. These boosters are available at the PHPC. Vaccine clinics are offered 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 our 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 March 23-29 shows 49 new positive cases. The university’s positivity rate is 1.87%, compared to last week’s rate of 2.89%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 2.25%. Individuals testing positive continue to report they are experiencing minimal to moderate symptoms of infection and there are no hospitalizations to report.

Please continue to monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms every day before coming to campus. If you feel unwell, stay home and get tested. University Health Services has symptomatic testing available for students, or, if you have an unobserved test kit on hand you can drop it off at one of the campus kiosks.

KN95 masks remain available for free at the Public Health Promotion Center in the Campus Center, and as a community we encourage everyone to respect the choices that individuals make about their own masking.

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