Emerson reports first positive COVID-19 test of summer session


Hongyu Liu

A sign of the COVID testing site of Emerson College and Tufts University.

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Emerson reported one positive COVID-19 test on Thursday out of the 52 tests administered on Wednesday. Zero students were reported to be in on-campus isolation or quarantine. 

Thursday’s update marks the first positive COVID-19 test reported by the college since the onset of the summer testing cycle, where over 1,000 negative tests were administered throughout that period. 

The spring semester testing cycle concluded with 169 positive COVID-19 tests reported and a positivity rate of 0.21 percent, compared to the 60 cases and 0.12 percent positivity rate reported in the fall. Over the fall and spring semesters, 229 positive tests were reported, adding up to a 0.17 percent positivity rate. 

Massachusetts reported 215 new coronavirus cases Thursday, a decline from the 382 new infections reported Wednesday. The death toll rose by 9.

Thursday’s report marks the second time this week cases have topped 200. However, it is also the fifteenth time cases have been under 500 in the past seventeen days. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Wednesday, the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education testing removed sat at 1.2 percent, down from 1.7 percent this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 0.8 percent.

The state reported 253 hospitalizations Thursday, down from the 327 reported this time last week. 

On Thursday, Massachusetts reported 57,180 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 7,692,143. Over 51 percent of the state’s population is now fully inoculated against COVID-19—meaning they have received both doses of the vaccines manufactured by Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

The college’s dashboard is typically 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.