Massachusetts cases spike, Emerson reports no new positives


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

Massachusetts reported 734 new positive cases Friday night, a sharp increase from 409 new cases on Thursday. The number of deaths rose from eight to 12. Friday’s totals represent a significant surge in the state as new positives had yet to cross 600 this week after hitting highs not seen since the summer last week. 

The state’s positivity rate jumped to 4.6 percent, after falling as low as 3.2 percent earlier in the week. 

Emerson reported no new positive COVID-19 test results Friday out of 797 tests administered on Oct. 8, leaving the college’s cumulative positive tests since Aug. 6 at 19. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 25,390.

The new data was reported at 4:17 pm.

The college reported no new positive test results this week, the first testing cycle since Aug. 3 to Aug. 9 when just 32 tests were administered where no positives were reported.

Administrators have said that the college plans to begin automating updates to the dashboard after an investigation by Beacon reporters found a string of inaccuracies in reporting testing data collected from the Broad Institute. 

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 “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, administrators have said.