AMHORST, Massachusetts (WWLP) — UMass Amherst announced on Thursday that an employee has died from COVID-19, the first active worker to die from the virus since the start of the pandemic.
In a statement on the university’s website, the Public Health Promotion Center said: “Last week we learned that a UMass Amherst employee died as a result of COVID-19. It is the first time since the start of the pandemic that an active employee has died from COVID-19. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and campus colleagues.”
The campus reported 377 new positive cases of COVID-19 from January 5 to January 11. The university currently has a test positivity rate of 7.56 percent, which is down from last week’s rate of 13.21 percent. As of Thursday, Massachusetts’ positivity rate is 20.34 percent.
The university also updated their mask requirements on Thursday, asking all students, staff and researchers to wear a higher-quality or double-mask mask indoors on campus. A higher quality mask is considered an N95, KN95 or KF94 mask. If you cannot wear one of these masks, you are encouraged to wear a double mask. The school said in the update that cloth masks should only be used when worn with a surgical mask underneath.
Beginning Tuesday, UMass Amherst will be offering self-test kits at the PHPC on the lower level of the Campus Center.