UMass Amherst Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

To the Campus Community,

We are writing today with the news that an employee on campus has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on the UMass Amherst campus.

The employee works for Dining Services in the Blue Wall Café, located on the first floor of the Campus Center. The staff member is self-isolating off campus, in accordance with public health protocols. We are hopeful for a full recovery for this member of our community. The Blue Wall has been closed until further notice. The university will perform enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting of the facility.

See Frequently Asked Questions about the University's Response to a Confirmed COVID-19 Case

There are currently no additional confirmed cases on campus as a result of this exposure. The employee was last on campus Thursday, April 2, 2020. University public health officials, in collaboration with local and state public health authorities, are performing contact tracing to identify and notify any individuals who may have been in close contact with this employee.

If you have been identified as someone who has been in close contact with, or in close proximity to, any individual who has tested positive for the virus, you will be notified by UMass public health authorities, and advised of a need to quarantine yourself. We will continue to closely monitor the situation. Any member of the campus community who is concerned about potential exposure should contact the COVID-19 HR Response Team at 413-687-2283 or COVID19HR@umass.edu.

Please do your part to protect the privacy of any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Individuals need to focus completely on their health. The last thing they need – or any of us would want for them – is public attention and scrutiny. We should do everything we can to support them.

We are committed to protecting the safety of our university community and our broader Pioneer Valley community, as well. For the latest updates on our efforts to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading on campus, please go to our COVID website at www.umass.edu/coronavirus.

We have tremendous faith that our community will join together once this is over and return to the campus we call home. Until then, please stay safe and remember the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • If you are sick, even if your symptoms are mild, you must stay home. This will protect the health of others in our community. If you have questions about wages and benefits, please talk to your supervisor for details of special provisions designed to support you during the pandemic.
     
  • Maintain social distancing — putting 6 feet of space between you and others in your daily interactions.
     
  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water (wash for at least 20 seconds) or alcohol-based sanitizer.
     
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
     
  • Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

If you have concerns about possible exposure to COVID-19 or are experiencing any symptoms, please contact the UHS triage nurse at 413-577-5229 for guidance.

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

 

Jeff Hescock,
Executive Director of Emergency Management

George Corey, M.D.
Executive Director of University Health Services