Emerson reports three new positive COVID-19 tests, bringing semester total to 151


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 Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Emerson reported three new positive COVID-19 tests Friday out of the 1,225 tests administered Thursday, bringing the college’s 7-day positivity rate to .48 percent and to 28 positives reported in the past week, the highest 7-day figure over both the fall and spring semesters. 

The spring semester’s total now sits at 151, an increase of about 152 percent from the 60 positives reported in the fall semester.

Friday’s dashboard update also reported 31 community members in isolation on campus and 50 in quarantine on campus, the highest number reported over both the fall and spring semesters. This time last week, when nine were reported to be in on campus isolation and 28 in on campus quarantine. 

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. 

Massachusetts reported 2,184 new coronavirus cases Friday, a rise from the 1,938 new infections reported Thursday. The death toll rose by 9, compared to the 32 reported this time last week. 

Friday’s total marks the third day this week cases have topped 2,000 since the state reported 2,292 on Wednesday. Case numbers have ranged between 1,500 and 2,000 each day this week. 

Daily new cases have regularly surpassed 2,000 in recent weeks, after falling below that benchmark each day between Feb. 12 and March 26. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Friday the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sat at 4.1, down from 4.2 last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 2.4 percent. 

The state reported 711 total hospitalizations Friday, up from the 705 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations have slowly begun rising over the past three weeks after declining substantially over the course of February and March following a spike amid the state’s wintertime surge. Last Thursday marked the first time hospitalizations reached 700 since March 4. 

On Friday, Massachusetts reported 112,933 new vaccinations—the first time the state has administered over 100,000 vaccines in a day—bringing the state’s total to 4,317,085. Almost 24 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.   

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.