Massachusetts reports 1,476 new coronavirus cases

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Photo: State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

Massachusetts reported 1,476 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, a rise from the 1,103 new infections reported Monday. The death toll rose by 20. 

Cases in the state have steadily declined over the past two months, reaching lows last seen in late October, following a spike after the winter holidays.

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Tuesday, the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sat at 3.7 percent, the highest number since Feb. 12 and up from 3.2 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 2.2 percent. 

The state reported 608 total hospitalizations Tuesday, down slightly from the 619 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations have declined substantially over the course of the past month after they spiked amid the state’s wintertime surge.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts reported 64,239 more vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 3,016,586. About 16 percent of the state’s population is fully inoculated against COVID-19—meaning they have received both doses of the vaccines manufactured by Moderna or Pfizer, or one dose of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.   

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Emerson reported one new positive COVID-19 test on Tuesday out of the 1,297 tests administered on Monday, raising the spring semester’s total at 103—a 72 percent increase from the fall semester. The cumulative positivity rate sits at 0.21 percent, a number that continues to decline. 

Tuesday’s dashboard update also reported two community members in isolation on campus and two in quarantine on campus. 

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.