Massachusetts coronavirus cases continue dramatic rise


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 2,047 new coronavirus cases Tuesday. The total rose sharply from 1,184 new cases reported Monday. The number of deaths rose from 13 to 21. 

New infections have steadily risen in the state since mid-September. Case numbers have now topped 2,000 three of the last five days, numbers last seen at the virus’s peak in the state in late April. The state’s positivity rate with higher education testing removed sits at 4.2 percent. 

“The second surge that so many of the folks in the public health community talked about last summer, which now seems like a million years ago, is certainly underway not just here but across the U.S. and frankly across almost all the western democracies,” Governor Charlie Baker told local officials gathered for a phone meeting Friday.

Emerson reported no new positive COVID-19 test results Tuesday out of 1,013 new tests administered on Nov. 9, leaving the college’s cumulative positive tests since Aug. 6 at 29. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 41,035.

The dashboard says the new data was reported at 12:12 p.m, though no new numbers were displayed on the web page at 1:55 p.m.

The college’s testing center at a Tufts Medical Center facility will remain open on Veterans Day, despite the national holiday. 

The college 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. 

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 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 Assistant Vice President for Campus Life 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.