COVID-19 Update from the UMass Public Health Promotion Center: May 5

Dear Campus Community,

As classes for the semester ended this week, we would like to wish all students taking their final exams a strong and successful finish to the semester. For the past two weeks, in addition to the PCR unobserved testing kits available at the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC), faculty, staff and students can pick up self-test antigen test kits at the PHPC. In the past two weeks over 10,000 antigen test kits (two tests per kit) have been distributed. As a reminder, individuals should continue to report their positive tests to We encourage you to take advantage of our free testing services before you leave campus.

The PHPC vaccine clinic closed for the spring semester last week and will reopen in early June. To find a nearby COVID-19 vaccine location, please visit the vaxfinder website. Approximatively 50,000 vaccinations have been administrated at the PHPC vaccine clinic, and we would like to say a special thank-you to all the nursing students and faculty from the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing for this incredible accomplishment.

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 27-May 3 shows 156 new positive cases. The university’s positivity rate is 5.74%, compared to last week’s rate of 5.92%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 5.79%. Individuals testing positive continue to report they are experiencing minimal-to-moderate symptoms of infection, and there are no hospitalizations to report.

The positivity rate and cases include self-reported positive antigen tests. Negative results of antigen tests are not reported to UMass and are not factored into the UMass positivity rate, and neither are the number of antigen tests conducted. With the wide availability of antigen tests and the widespread availability of these tests at UMass, we encourage everyone to take advantage of these free test kits. KN95 masks remain available for free at the PHPC. We encourage everyone to respect the choices that individuals make about their own masking.

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.


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

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