October 21, 2021
Dear Campus Community:
The Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) is closely monitoring the results of the UMass Amherst COVID-19 testing program. For the fifth consecutive week we have seen a reduction in positive cases.
The latest data covering Oct. 13-19 shows 10 new positive cases. The university’s cumulative seven-day positivity rate is 0.16%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 1.82%. We continue to be extremely encouraged with the downward trend in the positivity rate and cases. Most cases are of short duration resulting in mild-to-moderate illness. One staff member remains hospitalized. Details about case counts and vaccinations can be found on the university’s COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated every Thursday.
The twice-weekly flu vaccination clinics at the PHPC on the lower level of the Campus Center have been busy. UMass students, faculty and staff - please schedule your flu vaccination appointments through the Campus Health Hub. Flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others against influenza.
Eligible Massachusetts residents can obtain the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot at the PHPC on Thursdays and Fridays. Please visit the UMass COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic website to determine if you are eligible and to schedule an appointment by going to the Vaccine Appointment Scheduling page.
We anticipate early next week receiving guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on boosters for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and the mixing of vaccines. As soon as we receive guidance, we will update the COVID-19 Vaccine website with our plans for administering these vaccines.
In addition to picking up kits for unobserved testing at convenient locations on and off campus, the PHPC is currently piloting the use of vending machines for kit pick-up. Vending machines are currently located on the first floor of the Campus Center (bottom of the escalator) and next to the café in Whitmore. Just tap your UCard to the reader and enter your selection to get a kit. UMass students, faculty and staff can get up to two kits per week.
Please maintain vigilance in following all public health 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. Testing is free and readily available at the Public Health Promotion Center.
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