PHPC Update: Thanksgiving Travel, COVID-19 Booster Shot Eligibility

Dear Campus Community:

For those planning Thanksgiving travel, we hope your journeys are safe. We encourage you to be especially mindful of the protocols that guard against COVID-19. In particular, please keep in mind face coverings are one of the proven safeguards against the spread of infection. Mask as much as possible, particularly indoors, in crowded spaces, on public transit and at transportation hubs. In addition to travel settings, transmission risks can increase when socializing for an extended period over drinks and meals.

Next week, COVID-19 testing at the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC ) is available next Monday and Tuesday. The center is closed next Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 28. Unobserved test kits will be picked up from the drop boxes through 4 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 23. Observed and unobserved testing drop-off will resume on Monday, Nov. 29.

Boosters are extremely effective at enhancing the protection offered by your initial COVID-19 vaccinations. Effective today, everyone age 18 or older who received Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago or Johnson & Johnson at least two months ago can get any booster. We strongly encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 booster and flu shots. Please schedule an appointment at the PHPC vaccination clinic or find one close to you by visiting Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccine finder.

The latest COVID-19 testing data covering Nov. 10-16 shows 24 new positive cases. The university’s cumulative seven-day positivity rate is 0.61%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 2.84%. Most cases are of short duration resulting in mild-to-moderate illness and there are no current hospitalizations. Details about case counts and vaccinations can be found on the university’s COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated every Thursday. The campus continues to utilize adaptive testing by increasing or decreasing the number of students selected each week to come in for additional testing based on our surveillance data.  

Everyone must continue to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms each 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.

Thank you for the care you are showing and the precautions you are taking. We hope you have a restful, enjoyable time during the holiday, and we look forward to being back together after Thanksgiving. 

Sincerely,

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

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