Emerson reports two positive COVID-19 tests, bringing semester total to 91


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 two new positive COVID-19 tests out of 405 tests administered on Thursday, bringing the college’s cumulative positive tests to 151. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 85,078.

The college is seeing a decline in the number of positive test results being reported each week. This week will likely mark just the third time during the spring semester the number of positives fell below double digits. 

Since testing resumed on Jan. 11, the college has reported 91 positive tests—topping the 60 reported over the entire fall semester—and a positivity rate of .26 percent. 

Friday’s dashboard update also reported one community member in isolation on campus and one 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. 

Massachusetts reported 1,677 new coronavirus cases Friday, a rise from the 1,410 new infections reported Thursday. The death toll rose by 25. 

COVID-19 cases have fallen below 2,000 in the state each day for the past three weeks, after topping that mark each day from Nov. 30 to Feb. 2.

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 3.1 percent, equal to the 3.1 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 1.8 percent. 

The state reported 716 total hospitalizations on Friday, down from the 807 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations have declined substantially over the course of the past month after they spiked amid the state’s wintertime surge.

Massachusetts reported 74,520 vaccinations administered on Friday, bringing the state’s total to 2,005,800.  

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.