AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass Amherst announced Thursday an employee has died from COVID-19, the first active employee to die from the virus since the start of the pandemic.

In a statement on the university’s website, the Public Health Promotion Center stated, “This past week, we learned that a UMass Amherst employee died as the result of COVID-19. This is the first time that an active employee has died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Our heartfelt sympathies 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 is currently at a test positivity rate of 7.56 percent, which is down from last week’s rate at 13.21 percent. As of Thursday, Massachusetts’ percent positivity is 20.34 percent.

The university has also updated their mask recommendations Thursday, encouraging all students, staff and researchers to wear a higher-grade mask or double-mask when indoors on the campus. A higher-grade mask is considered a N95, KN95 or KF94 mask. If you can’t wear one of these masks, you are encouraged to 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 provide self-testing kits at the PHPC on the lower level of the Campus Center.