Massachusetts reports 1,114 new coronavirus cases

Gov. Charlie Baker.

State House News Service

Gov. Charlie Baker.

By Charlie McKenna

Massachusetts reported 1,114 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, a decline from the 1,150 new infections reported Monday. The death toll rose by 30. 

Tuesday marks the eleventh day in a row cases have fallen below 2,000 in the state. Cases topped 2,000 each day from Nov. 30 to Feb. 2. 

On Feb. 19, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the second confirmed case of the B.1.315 COVID-19 variant first discovered in South Africa, and 15 more cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom, bringing the state’s total to 44. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. The seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sat at 3.1 percent Tuesday, down from the 3.6 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 1.9 percent. 

The state reported 879 total hospitalizations on Tuesday, down from the 1,096 reported this time last week. Tuesday’s total marks just the third time hospitalizations dipped under 1,000 since Nov. 26. 

Massachusetts reported 32,428 vaccinations administered on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 1,476,276. 

Emerson reported two new positive COVID-19 test results Tuesday out of 1,135 new tests administered on Feb. 22 and Feb. 21, bringing the college’s cumulative positive tests to 140. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 77,582. 

Since testing resumed on Jan. 11, the college has reported 80 positive tests—topping the 60 reported over the entire fall semester—and a positivity rate of .30 percent. 

The dashboard reported three community members in isolation on campus and 13 in quarantine on campus. On Feb. 19, five community members were in isolation and 28 were quarantined. 

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.  

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.