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Massachusetts reported 1,322 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, a significant increase from the 967 new infections reported Tuesday. The death toll rose by 55.
The 967 reported cases was the lowest number of reported cases since Nov. 3 and the first time cases have fallen below 1,000 since that date. The state has seen record lows in the last week following the record highs likely fueled by Christmas holiday travels.
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health the first confirmed case of the B.1.315 COVID-19 variant, which originated in South Africa. The first confirmed case of B.1.315 comes days after the DPH announced that 19 new cases of the B.1.17 variant, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom, had been confirmed. The state has a combined total of 30 variant cases, one for B.1.315 and 29 for B.1.17.
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 3.6 percent Wednesday, down from the 4.5 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 2.2 percent.
The state reported 1,088 total hospitalizations on Wednesday, down from the 1,358 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations in the state have declined steadily since early January, after they rose by nearly 300 week over week for much of November and December.
Emerson reported seven new positive test results on Wednesday out of the 2,130 tests administered Tuesday. The latest dashboard update also reported that 4 community members were in on-campus isolation and 20 community members were in on-campus quarantine.
Since testing resumed on Jan. 11, the college has reported 73 positive cases—topping the 60 positive tests reported over the entire fall semester—and a positivity rate of .33 percent.