Emerson reports 11 positive COVID-19 tests, lowest single-day total this semester


Hongyu Liu

Emerson’s testing site at Tufts Medical Center.

By Adri Pray, Editor-at-large

Emerson reported 11 positive COVID-19 tests on Tuesday out to the 1,841 administered on Monday.

Tuesday’s dashboard update also reported that eight community members were in on-campus isolation. Zero were reported to be in on-campus quarantine. 

Those in the quarantine may have been exposed to COVID-19 but aren’t experiencing symptoms. Those in isolation are symptomatic, have produced a positive test, or are “reasonably known to be infected,” according to the college. Off-campus students are not counted in the quarantine and isolation numbers.

As of Jan. 3, Emerson has reported 395 positive cases and administered 15,940 tests. The cumulative positivity rate sits at 2.48 percent.

Massachusetts reported 7,120 positive cases on Tuesday. The death toll rose by 145.

Hospitalizations went up as reported on Tuesday as the state reported 2,688 hospitalizations, with 1,333 of these hospitalizations occurring in those who are fully vaccinated.

The state of Massachusetts also tracks two kinds of COVID-19 positivity rates—one including higher education testing and one without. The seven-day positive rate without higher education hasn’t been updated since Jan. 19 and sits at 17.88 percent. Including higher education, the rate sits at 11.40 percent as of Jan. 24.

Massachusetts reported 22,108 new vaccinations—including boosters—from Monday to Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 13,495,055 doses. Tuesday’s daily vaccination update reported that 5,238,941 Mass. residents—according to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 76 percent of the state’s population—are fully vaccinated, meaning that they have received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Emerson shifted from a manual data reporting process to an automatic one on Oct. 13. The decision followed a Beacon investigation that revealed a string of inaccuracies in the data reported by the college. 

The college’s dashboard is updated daily Monday through Friday. When it was first launched in August, the college opted for weekly updates before eventually shifting to twice weekly and then daily updates. Tabs for hospitalizations and the number of “invalid” results received by community members have since been removed from the dashboard after testing began in August. Invalid results are typically a result of user error and require re-testing. 

Administrators said in August the decision to remove hospitalizations was part of an effort to increase transparency, as the college was concerned it could not accurately track the metric. Invalid results were deemed “not valuable” data by “COVID Lead” Erik Muurisepp.

The dashboard is not updated on weekends because Emerson’s testing site at Tufts Medical Center is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.