The Town of Amherst has recently experienced an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in our community. While an increase in cases was not unexpected with a large number of our population recently returning to the area, we do want to take this opportunity to share some public health reminders and local updates.
Case counts in Amherst are updated daily on weekdays and can be accessed at www.amherstcovid19.org Other available dashboards from the colleges and university are also linked on this website.
Recent Amherst Board of Health Actions
On Thursday, September 9th the Amherst Board of Health amended language to the existing indoor mask mandate to ensure mask wearing for patrons in bars, venues, and restaurants at all times, except when seated and eating or drinking. The indoor mask mandate requires a mask in all indoor public places and private indoor places that are open to the public and took effect on August 18, 2021. Click here to view a PDF of the Board of Health Mandate
Also at this meeting, in response to an inquiry from the Amherst Regional School Committee, the Amherst Board of Health considered and voted to add vaccination against COVID-19, using vaccines that have received full FDA approval, to the list of vaccinations that are required (except for medical or religious exceptions) for students to attend public schools in Amherst. This rule will apply to those aged 16 and above.
Currently, the vast majority of students in Amherst Regional Pubic Schools who are eligible to be vaccinated have been; the current data shows that 82% of 12-15 year olds are vaccinated, and a similar percentage is assumed at the 16-18 year old level. The Amherst Regional School Committee will decide on the timeline for the students to get the vaccine at their September 23rd meeting.
Vaccines and Testing
We estimate that the vaccination rate of those persons with at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Amherst is currently at 76%. This figure is based on calculations using Massachusetts Department of Public Health data and is updated weekly. We urge those in the community who have not yet been vaccinated, to please do so. Vaccines are free and readily available locally at multiple locations, including UMass Amherst. More details can be found here https://www.amherstcovid19.org/vaccine
The Town of Amherst is currently monitoring the FDA decisions regarding booster doses and will make a determination at that time on future clinics.
Free community testing is still available at UMass Amherst. Adults and children ages 4 and older without symptoms of COVID-19 are eligible for testing either on a walk-in basis at the Public Health Promotion Center or by picking up an unobserved testing kit at the PHPC and dropping it in a campus kiosk. Individuals with any COVID-19 symptoms, should not come to the PHPC. They should make an appointment with their physician for testing. This and other area testing resources can be found at https://www.amherstcovid19.org/testing
Questions? Please contact the Amherst COVID-19 Concerns line at 413-259-2425 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org