Emerson reports unusually high testing total, Massachusetts cases rise


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 one new positive COVID-19 test Friday out of 1,708 new results from tests administered Oct. 14 and 15, leaving the college’s cumulative positive tests since Aug. 6 at 22. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 28,679.

The new data was reported at 12:10 p.m. 

The testing total from Oct. 14, 946, is the second unusually high testing total in recent days. 975 tests were administered on Oct. 13. Oct. 15’s total of 762 is more in line with the daily average of about 700 daily tests. 

Massachusetts reported 702 new coronavirus cases Friday evening, up from 568 new cases on Thursday. The number of deaths rose to 30 from 23. Cases in the state continue to trend upwards from early August, with two metrics of test positivity, daily positive tests per people tested and average of positive tests per total administered,  steadily climbing.

In a statement, Assistant Vice President for Campus Life Erik Muurisepp said the dashboard will be updated automatically beginning Tuesday. The decision comes 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.