Massachusetts reports 1,260 new coronavirus cases


State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. speaking at a COVID-19 update inside the Massachusetts State House.

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Massachusetts reported 1,260 new coronavirus cases Thursday, a decline from the 1,392 new infections reported Wednesday. The death toll rose by 16.

Thursday’s total marks the second time cases have topped 900 this week, following two days of reporting totals just above 800. Mid-October was the last time cases were that low, when the state was on the precipice of a wintertime surge. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Thursday, the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education testing removed sat at 2.8 percent, down from the 3.6 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 1.6 percent, the lowest figure since Mar. 8.

The state reported 590 hospitalizations Thursday, down from the 645 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations are on the decline after slowly rising over the past three weeks. 

On Thursday, Massachusetts reported 85,896 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 5,998,129. Over 35 percent of the state’s population is now fully inoculated against COVID-19—meaning they have received both doses of the vaccines manufactured by Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Emerson reported one new positive COVID-19 test on Thursday, out of the 799 tests administered on Thursday. Thursday’s report marks the second time in more than a week that any positive tests have been reported by the college. Last week, zero positives were reported throughout the week, the first time that has occurred in the college’s regular testing cycles over the fall and spring semesters. 

Thursday’s dashboard update reported no community members in on-campus quarantine and isolation, respectively. 

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. 

The spring semester’s positive tests total now sits at 169, an increase of about 182 percent from the 60 positives reported in the fall semester.

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 “in valid” 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.