Emerson reports no new positives, Massachusetts cases continue to spike


Photo: Diti Kohli

Emerson’s testing site is located at a Tufts Medical Center facility on the corner of Harrison Ave. and Kneeland St.

By Charlie McKenna

Emerson reported no new positive COVID-19 test results Thursday out of 758 new tests administered on Oct. 21, leaving the college’s cumulative positive tests since Aug. 6 at 25. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 31,455.

The dashboard says the new data was reported at 12:14 p.m but the web page did not display any new data when checked at 12:43 p.m.

Massachusetts reported 986 new coronavirus cases Thursday. The total was up significantly from 646 new cases reported Wednesday. The number of deaths rose from 22 to 30. New infections continue to rise in the state—Thursday’s total was the highest single day total since May 24, as was Monday’s. The state is averaging 810 new cases a day so far this week. 

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

Emerson’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 been removed from the dashboard since testing began in August. Invalid results are typically a result of user error and require re-testing. 

Administrators have said the decision to remove hospitalizations was an effort to increase transparency as the college said it could not accurately track the metric. Invalid results were deemed “not valuable” data by Muurisepp, who serves as the college’s “COVID lead”. 

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