AMHERST — UMass Amherst and the town of Amherst announced that the university will provide asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for the town’s first responders and inspectors as part of their joint efforts to deter spread of the novel coronavirus.
Approximately 100 firefighters, police, and inspectors will be tested once per week in the university’s Public Health Promotion Center at the Mullins Center. The town will reimburse the university for the costs associated with the testing.
“UMass has a long tradition of supporting and partnering with the town’s front-line responders and is deeply appreciative for the invaluable role they play in enhancing the public safety of our campus community,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said. “Currently, our resources and capacity are limited, but we are pleased to be able to make this commitment for the well-being of the entire community.”
Added Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman, “we appreciate that the university will provide a needed service to the town as we work to keep our employees safe and healthy. Our entire community relies on our expertly trained first-responder teams, and we welcome the opportunity to keep them, and ultimately our town, safe. The university has done a tremendous job in setting up such a professionally run testing regimen, and we deeply appreciate the campus’ willingness to accommodate our request.”
The university’s asymptomatic-testing program is one of the largest in the state. UMass Amherst has conducted more than 70,000 COVID-19 tests since Aug. 6, including approximately 48,000 tests of the off-campus student population living in the Amherst area.