UMass reported 52 new cases last week

COVID-19 cases rise post-Halloween

By Will Katcher, Assistant News Editor

Coronavirus cases at the University of Massachusetts rose late last week in the wake of Halloween, according to data released Sunday evening to the school’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

UMass reported 52 cases between Monday and Friday of last week, 16 of them from symptomatic testing and 36 from the school’s asymptomatic testing program conducted in the Mullins Center. Six on-campus students tested positive, bringing the semester’s total number of cases in residential halls to 10.

The incubation period for COVID-19 — how long it takes to show symptoms of the virus — can last as long as 14 days, the CDC says, though the median period is four to five days. Thus, cases appearing late this past week may have been spread around Halloween or in the days prior to it. Three-quarters of the cases appeared in the latter half of the week — 14 on Wednesday, 16 on Thursday, nine on Friday.

The new numbers raise UMass’ seven-day positivity rate to 0.44 percent, its highest point in several weeks, though still more than five times lower than the rate of Massachusetts as a whole. The state has seen a steady rise in new cases over the last month. Nationally, new daily cases are at their highest point of the pandemic.

UMass has cumulatively seen 234 coronavirus cases since asymptomatic testing began in early August. The vast majority, nearly 90 percent, come from off-campus students.

Will Katcher can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @will_katcher.