The Latest: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Updated Tuesday, May 26, 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.

Reopening Massachusetts

The goal of the phased reopening is to methodically allow certain businesses, services, and activities to resume, while protecting public health and limiting a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases. For Information on:

 Each phase will last a minimum of three weeks and could last longer before moving to the next phase. If public health data trends are negative, specific industries, regions, and/or the entire Commonwealth may need to return to an earlier phase.

  • Phase 1 will be “Start:” limited industries resume operations with severe restrictions
  • Phase 2 will be “Cautious:” additional industries resume operations with restrictions and capacity limits
  • Phase 3 will be “Vigilant:” additional industries resume operations with guidance
  • Phase 4 will be the “New Normal:” development of vaccine and/or therapy enables resumption of new normal

Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC)

  • The COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) has been created by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Partners In Health . The program focuses on reaching out to the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients to help others who have been potentially exposed to the virus. When the MA COVID Team calls, you can do your part by answering the phone and providing helpful information that will help flatten and reduce the curve in Massachusetts.
  • Learn more about how the CTC works here Community Tracing Collaborative.

Masks and Face Coverings

  • Starting May 6, 2020, Governor Baker is ordering the use of masks or face coverings in public situations when appropriate social distancing measures are not possible. This guidance replaces DPH guidance relative to the use of masks or face coverings previously released on April 10. For more information on the face mask covering order and tips on proper use of face covers, go to MDPH Wear a Mask In Public. 

COVID-19 Laboratory Confirmed Case Report for the Town of Amherst

May 26, 2020, 9:30 a.m. Confirmed COVID-19 Cases: 

  • Amherst Total Cases: 85 
  • Hampshire County Cases: 834
  • Massachusetts: 93271

The Town of Amherst will report laboratory confirmed COVID-19 case counts daily, Monday through Friday.  For more Massachusetts data visit MDPH COVID-19 Cases. This COVID-19 case count reflects laboratory confirmed cases reported by MDPH’s computerized surveillance and case management system called MAVEN (Massachusetts Virtual Epidemiological Network).

The MDPH will report COVID-19 cases by city and town weekly, it will be updated each Wednesday. For the weekly report go to Confirmed COVID-19 at MDPH, then go to "Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in MA by City/Town".

The number of laboratory confirmed cases reported may not represent real-time actual cases, there are delays in test reporting, cases that may not have been diagnosed, or cases that were clinically diagnosed and no laboratory testing was available. The number should not change what we need to focus on at this time that includes the Governor’s orders to stay at home, socially distancing, as well as actions such as hand-washing, cleaning high touch surfaces and wearing face covers when you are out and cannot keep social distancing.

Amherst Community Resource COVID-19 Webpage

  • Please refer to the new Amherst Community Resource COVID-19 website regarding information for our community. Upcoming events will be listed, as well as other resources and schedules. New COVID-19 Community Website

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:  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.