Massachusetts cases top 4,000 over two day period


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 4,464 new coronavirus cases over a 48-hour period Friday. The total is up significantly from 3,224 new infections reported over a 30-hour period Wednesday. The state’s death total rose by 29.

The high number of cases is due to Friday’s update including data from Thanksgiving day on Thursday. 

New infections in the state have steadily risen since mid-September. Now in the midst of a second wave, city and state officials are warning against Thanksgiving travel and gatherings, which experts say could accelerate the spread of the virus.

The state recently changed the way it reports COVID-19 positivity rates, separating higher education testing into its own category. The seven-day test positivity rate with higher education testing removed sits at 4.86 percent.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are currently surging. On Wednesday, the state reported 986 total hospitalizations, compared to 904 a week ago.

Emerson reported no new testing data Friday. 

The college reported 20 positive tests over the past two weeks—38 percent of the cumulative total positives reported thus far this semester. The previous high for a two week testing period was eight. 

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 have said 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.