Massachusetts reports 1,683 new coronavirus cases

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Photo: State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

Massachusetts reported 1,683 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, a rise from the 1,464 new infections reported Monday. The death toll rose by 18. 

Tuesday’s case total marks the third day in a row cases have fallen below 2,000 following a three-day period of daily totals surpassing 2,000, a trend last observed in mid February. 

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 4.3 percent, up from 3.7 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 2.5 percent. 

The state reported 711 total hospitalizations Tuesday, the highest since March 9 and up from the 608 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations have slowly begun rising over the past two weeks after declining substantially over the course of February and March following a spike amid the state’s wintertime surge.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts reported 73,642 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 3,483,277. Over 18 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.   

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Emerson reported two new positive COVID-19 tests on Tuesday out of the 1,325 tests administered Monday, bringing the spring semester’s total to 107. The college has now reported 167 positives since testing began on Aug. 6.

Tuesday’s dashboard update also reported one community member in isolation on campus and three 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. 

The college’s latest dashboard update also reported 3 students in on-campus quarantine and 2 students in on-campus isolation. 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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