Massachusetts reports 1,817 new coronavirus cases

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Photo: John Tlumacki / Boston Globe / Pool

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

Massachusetts reported 1,817 new coronavirus cases Sunday, a rise from the 2,362 new infections reported Saturday. The death toll rose by 29. 

Saturday’s case total marked the third time this week cases have surpassed 2,000, the first time since Feb. 12. Cases in the state steadily declined over the past two months and reached lows last seen in late October, following a spike after the winter holidays.

Massachusetts reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Sunday, the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sat at 3.9 percent and up from 3.4 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 2.3 percent. 

The state reported 657 total hospitalizations Sunday, up from the 580 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations have slowly begun rising this week after declining substantially over the course of the past month following the spike amid the state’s wintertime surge.

Due to technical difficulties, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Daily dashboard was not updated with new data by publication time. 

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On Sunday, Massachusetts reported 68,657 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 3,369,5213. Almost 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.   

Friday’s Emerson dashboard update revealed one new positive test out of 1,251 tests, bringing the cumulative total to 105. The cumulative number of tests administered sits at 104,014. 

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.