Emerson reports ten new positives in five days


Domenic Conte

A sign on the window of Emerson’s coronavirus testing site at Tufts Medical Center.

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Emerson has reported ten new positive COVID-19 tests since Sept. 20 on the Boston campus, raising the college’s cumulative positive tests to 48. 

The ten positive tests come from 3,994 tests administered over the nine-day period, a positivity rate of 0.25 percent. 

Six community members were reported to be in on-campus isolation and zero community members were reported to be in on-campus quarantine on Friday.

At Emerson Los Angeles, three positive tests were reported this week out of 220 tests administered. The three tests reported on Tuesday mark the first positive tests the LA campus has reported following a two-week period of zero positives. ELA has reported a total of five positives since the onset of the first semester, a drastically smaller number—largely due to the limited population of the Boston campus—than Emerson’s main campus. 

The college has seen an uptick in positive COVID-19 tests since the onset of the fall semester. Within the first four weeks, Emerson has reported a 860 percent increase from the five positives reported this time last year. 

The increase corresponds with a rise in coronavirus cases both locally and nationally; Massachusetts reported 1,784 new cases on Friday and the state’s death toll rose by 13. 

Vaccinations have also slowed considerably in Massachusetts, with just over 67 percent of the population fully inoculated against COVID-19—though the state did reach its goal of fully vaccinating 4.1 million residents on June 22. From Monday, the Department of Public Health reported 65,226 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 9,392,849 residents who have received shots.

The college’s dashboard is typically updated daily Monday through Friday.  When it was first launched last 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 last year. Invalid results are typically a result of user error and require re-testing. 

Administrators said last summer that 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.