The Latest: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Please check this page regularly, it is updated daily. Last updated Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Town of Amherst is responding to COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The Town has strong systems in place to address this situation. The Town is the local point of contact and source for information for residents and business of Amherst. We are in continuous contact with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), local institutions of higher education, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, and Amherst Regional Public Schools (ARPS).

Do You Have Questions Regarding COVID-19? 

  • Mass 2-1-1 is staffed all day with professional personnel who can answer questions regarding symptoms, testing and travel. Personnel can speak with you in multiple languages. Call to 2-1-1.

Governor Baker Declaration of Emergency

*New 3/31/20:  The Baker-Polito Administration announced several updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak including extending the non-essential business emergency order until May 4. The Department of Public Health’s Stay-At-Home Advisory remains in effect. See the order and list of deemed essential service list at MDPH COVID-19 webpage

Town COVID-19 Live Webinars w/ Q&A

square covid webinar_news Opens in new window

Thursday, April 2nd at Noon and again at 5 PM:  Live Zoom Webinar with Q/&A.  Updates on the Town’s response to COVID-19 from Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman, Health Director Julie Federman, and School Superintendent Mike Morris. Have a question or concern? Click the picture above to join the Webinar or find out more here

Special Town Council Meetings - COVID-19 Weekly Updates

Upcoming Special Town Council Meetings - COVID-19 Weekly Updates: 

Previous Special Town Council Meetings- COVID-19 Weekly Updates:

What we know now

View Massachusetts and Hampshire County case details and a summary of lab testing: 
COVID-19 cases and testing summary in Massachusetts  

Notification - Will I be contacted if I was exposed?

The Amherst Health Department, in compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), performs disease surveillance and contact exposure for over 60 infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Each case will have different circumstances, and we determine where the case was before they became ill, and then where a case has been, and who has been exposed. We notify people who could have been in contact with the case and work with them to quarantine and monitor symptoms. If there ever is a situation the public needs to be made aware, we will make an announcement. We are reminding you to continue keep social distancing, wash your hands, and clean high touch surfaces!

Is There a Vaccine or Treatment for COVID-19?

Because it is a new (novel) virus, currently there is no vaccine. And since people have never been exposed to the virus, no one has existing immunity. Therefore, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.  Preventing exposure is what we are doing when we practice social distancing, standing 6 feet away from other people, closing businesses and asking people to restrict movement. Also, there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Studies are currently ongoing to determine the efficacy of different antiviral treatments. People with COVID-19 can speak with their health care provider to help relieve symptoms, many people are treated at home when they are diagnosed with COVID-19. Always call your provider first if you are ill, do not drop in without speaking with staff first.

 Isolation, Quarantine, Social Distancing

Isolation, quarantine and social distancing help protect individuals and the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.  Take time to understand the terms, using them incorrectly may lead to unnecessary worry or unnecessary staying at home. 

  • Social Distancing should be practiced by everyone in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. It involves maintaining a distance of at least six feet between you and other people. It is also minimizing contact with people in group situations at work and in the community. This is why events have been cancelled, the number of people in one space is reduced, and people are asked to work from home. The reduction in the number of people you come in contact with per day helps reduce the ability of the virus to spread in the population. 
  • Isolation is for people who have been infected by the disease and are sick. It separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who may have been, or were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Amherst and Massachusetts Closings Information 

Town of Amherst: Schools to remain closed until May 4, 2020. Stay up to date information on Town of Amherst municipal buildings closings and status, and for Amherst Regional Public School (ARPS) closings and status go the Town of Amherst webpage. Please check with specific department for information on the continued and available services and how to conduct your business online.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health: Keep updated on Massachusetts and Governor Baker’s Press Releases Related to COVID-19 here.

Higher Risk of Getting Very Sick Individuals: Older adults or anyone with underlying health conditions or weakened immune system, and pregnant women should avoid large gatherings. Link to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) webpage on high risk individuals is available here. 

  • Please utilize the tabs below to access additional information. 
  1. Our Team
  2. What You Can Do
  3. Resources
  4. Travelers
  5. FAQs

Town Manager Paul Bockelman has overall responsibility and has assembled a team that is lead by Health Director Julie Federman, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Tim Nelson, Police Chief Scott Livingstone, and Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek. This team brings together the public health and public safety teams to coordinate all management and communication for the Town.

Stay Connected

This page will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.