UMass reports 371 COVID-19 cases for the week of Sept. 8-14, announces new testing measures

The University announces selective testing protocol in response to uptick in COVID-19 cases

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Will Katcher/Daily Collegian

By Sofi Shlepakov, Assistant News Editor

On Thursday night, University of Massachusetts reported an uptick in COVID-19 cases, with 371 students and employees testing positive for the week of Sept. 8-14. The COVID-19 Dashboard also showed a 4.2 percent positivity rate.

The University announced in an email to the campus community on Friday morning that it will begin “adaptive testing” in response to an increased number of positive cases.

Co-directors of the Public Health Promotion Center, Ann Becker and Jeffrey Hescock, stated that the Public Health Promotion Center is monitoring the rise of positive COVID-19 cases closely.

The email called these numbers “concerning,” and urged those not yet vaccinated to do so.

Out of the vaccinated population of the UMass community, 1.7 percent have tested positive. Of the 500 unvaccinated individuals, who have been exempted from vaccination by medical or religious reasonings, 10.05 percent have tested positive.

Adaptive testing will be used as a protocol to identify students who may be at risk of infection.

“Selected students, for instance in particular residential areas or social groups, will be asked to come in for additional testing so public health officials can better understand the transmission of the virus in our community,” the email read.

The majority of the positive cases recorded, 292, are from off-campus students.

“Positive cases continue to be predominately among undergraduate off-campus students connected to un-masked social activities,” the email continued.

The email states that the Off Campus Student Life office is partnering with Good Neighbor program, allowing all students who register an off-campus gathering to have the correct information and resources to ensure gatherings are as safe as possible. These resources include the existing restrictions.

“We are encouraging students to make connections, socialize, and have fun, but to do so in ways that protect their community from spread,” the email read.

The University encourages students to enable MassNotify, a new contact tracing tool from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  Students will get alerts in the case that they have been exposed to COVID-19 and will help the UMass contact tracing team to track cases and take the correct course of action.

Sofi Shlepakov can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @SShlepakov.