Emerson reports one new coronavirus case, Massachusetts dashboard experiencing technical difficulties


Photo: Hongyu Liu

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

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Emerson reported one new positive COVID-19 test on Thursday out of the 1,062 tests administered on Wednesday, keeping the spring semester’s total at 104—a 72 percent increase from the fall semester. The college’s cumulative testing total sits at 102,763.

The cumulative positivity rate sits at 0.20 percent, a number that continues to decline. 

Thursdays dashboard update also reported two community members in isolation on campus and three in quarantine on campus. 

Those in 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. 

On Thursday, Massachusetts reported 72,088 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 3,151,237. About 17 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, 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.

The Massachusetts’ Department of Health announced that tableau, the platform used for the COVID-19 Interactive Dashboard, was experiencing “technical difficulties” at the time of publication. The statewide dashboard is typically updated daily with new COVID-19 cases at 5 p.m.