Massachusetts reports 1,577 new coronavirus cases

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

Photo: State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

Massachusetts reported 1,577 new coronavirus cases Friday, a decline from the 1,589 new infections reported Thursday. The death toll rose by 29. 

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. Monday’s report of 892 cases marked the lowest single day case total since Oct. 20

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Friday, the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sat at 3.1 percent. That number has not fluctuated by more than half a percent in the last month. The rate that includes higher education sits at 1.8 percent. 

The state reported 641 total hospitalizations Thursday, down from the 716 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.

Massachusetts reported 63,372 vaccinations administered on Friday, bringing the state’s total to 2,416,780. About 11 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 no new positive COVID-19 test from Friday out of the 1,084 tests administered on Thursday, leaving the college’s cumulative positive tests to 156. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 91,307.

The college is seeing a decline in the number of positive test results being reported each week. Last week marked just the third time during the spring semester the number of positives fell below double digits—and the second straight week. This week, just three positives have been reported. 

Since testing resumed on Jan. 11, the college has reported 96 positive tests—topping the 60 reported over the entire fall semester—and a positivity rate of .24 percent. 

Friday’s dashboard update also reported three community members in isolation on campus and zero 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.

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