Massachusetts reports 1,865 new coronavirus cases

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

Massachusetts reported 1,865 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, a rise from the 1,476 new infections reported Tuesday. The death toll rose by 54. 

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 Wednesday, the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sat at 3.9 percent, the highest number since Feb. 10 and up from 3.4 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 2.2 percent. 

The state reported 628 total hospitalizations Wednesday, up slightly from the 620 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 Wednesday, Massachusetts reported 62,563 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 3,079,149. About 16 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, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.   

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Emerson reported no new positive COVID-19 tests on Wednesday out of the 1,178 tests administered on Monday, keeping the spring semester’s total at 103—a 72 percent increase from the fall semester. The college’s cumulative testing total sits at 101,674.

The cumulative positivity rate sits at 0.20 percent, a number that continues to decline. 

Wednesday’s dashboard update also reported two community members 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. 

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.