University News

PHPC Update: UMass Sees Decrease in COVID-19 Positivity Rate

The Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) provided an update today regarding the latest COVID-19 test results and related public health measures. During the past week, the university has seen a decrease in the number of new positive cases, and the university’s cumulative seven-day positivity rate dropped to 1.27% from 4.18%.

The e-mail is as follows:

Dear Campus Community:

The Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) is closely monitoring the results of the UMass Amherst COVID-19 testing program. We are encouraged by the trends of the past week.

The latest data from Sept. 15-21 shows 100 new positive cases. Compared to the previous week with 380 cases, the university’s cumulative seven-day positivity rate dropped to 1.27% from 4.18%. The PHPC also launched adaptive testing this week, with selected students coming in for additional testing to help us monitor community transmission trends.

Positive cases continue to be predominately among undergraduate students connected to un-masked social activities. We do not see any spread in academic settings. Most cases continue to be of short duration resulting in mild-to-moderate illness. Details about case counts and vaccinations can be found on the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, which is updated every Thursday.

We continue to stress that vaccinations provide the most effective protection against COVID-19, and at UMass 96.9% of our faculty, staff and students are vaccinated. We urge those not yet vaccinated to consider doing so. COVID-19 vaccines are free and available by appointment. Testing is also free and readily available at the Public Health Promotion Center.

While we are encouraged by the decrease in the positivity rate and cases, now is not the time to let our guard down. We must remain vigilant and consistently follow important protocols including wearing masks indoors and while outdoors when social distancing is not possible. Everyone must continue to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms every day before coming to campus. If you feel unwell, stay home, and get tested.

Meanwhile, as we head into the fall our attention also turns to helping you avoid the flu this year. Flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others against influenza. Twice weekly flu vaccination clinics will start Sept. 30 at the PHPC on the lower level of the Campus Center, Starting today, UMass students, faculty and staff can book flu vaccination appointments through the health hub.

Please remember that the steps you take make an important difference. Continue to care for yourselves and one another.


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

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