Massachusetts reports 17,802 new coronavirus cases


Photo: Ashley Green/Telegram & Gazette via SHNS

Gov. Charlie Baker provides a COVID-19 update while touring the first responder vaccination site at the Worcester Senior Center on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

By Adri Pray, Editor-at-large

Massachusetts reported 17,802 positive cases on Tuesday, down from the 60,986 reported Monday. The death toll rose by 116, the highest single-day total since May 15, 2020 when 119 deaths were reported. 

Tuesday’s report marks a continuation in the statewide surge that has been experiencing since December. The Omicron variant is reported to be a large contributor to this surge as cases in the state have been consistently above 10,000 daily.

The state of Massachusetts also tracks two kinds of COVID-19 positivity rates—one including higher education testing and one without. Tuesday’s numbers showed a slight dip in the seven-day positivity rate without higher education institutions for 25 percent. Including higher education, the rate currently sits at 22.78 percent, similar to Monday’s rate.

The state reported 2,970 hospitalizations, with 1,348 of these hospitalizations occuring in those who are fully vaccinated.

In total, approximately 6,350,475 Massachusetts residents have received a first or second vaccination or a booster shot, equating to roughly 92 percent of the state’s population. As of Tuesday, 5,132,780 residents are fully vaccinated, about 75 percent of Massachusetts’ population.

Emerson reported 17 new positive COVID-19 tests from Tuesday out of the 399 tests administered on Monday. Since testing resumed on Jan. 3, the college has reported 184 positive tests and a positivity rate of 5.21 percent. 

The college’s dashboard also reported that ten community members were in on-campus isolation on Tuesday. Zero were reported to be in on-campus quarantine. 

Tuesday’s “arctic blast” prompted “COVID Lead” Erik Muurisepp to announce in an email the closure of the Tufts Medical Center at 2:00 p.m. as the center experienced heating issues.

The email did not state whether or not the arctic blast affected other Emerson facilities, nor did it announce further closure of the location.

The college also released a communication to the Emerson community late Tuesday night updating existing COVID-19 guidelines and confirmed the date to return to in-person instruction. 

Interim President Bill Gilligan announced that in-person classes will resume on Jan. 18,  as stated previously in an email to the college community, but has opted to extend the grab-and-go option in the Dining Center and postpone in-person organization meetings until Jan. 24.

Students will also be expected to test twice a week for the foreseeable future and have been asked to refrain from gathering indoors and in large groups through Jan. 24.

To comply with the updated testing protocol, Tufts Medical Center will be open to all Emerson community members on the following Saturday dates: Jan. 15, Jan. 22 and Jan. 29 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., college officials announced in an email on Tuesday.

The testing center will be closed every Sunday in January, as well as Monday, Jan. 17 in order to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The dashboard is not updated on weekends because Emerson’s testing site at Tufts Medical Center is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.