Massachusetts reports 1,938 new coronavirus cases


Photo: State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Massachusetts reported 1,938 new coronavirus cases Thursday, a significant decline from the 2,292 new infections reported Wednesday. The death toll rose by 8. 

Thursday’s total marks the second day cases have dipped below 2,000 since the state reported 1,566 new cases on Tuesday.

Cases have regularly surpassed 2,000 in recent weeks, after falling below that benchmark each day between Feb. 12 and March 26. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Thursday the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sat at 3.9, down from 4.2 last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 2.3 percent. 

The state reported 735 total hospitalizations Thursday, up from the 700 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations have slowly begun rising over the past three weeks after declining substantially over the course of February and March following a spike amid the state’s wintertime surge. Last Thursday marked the first time hospitalizations reached 700 since March 4. 

On Thursday, Massachusetts reported 92,825 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to  4,204,152. About 23 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.   

Emerson reported five new positive COVID-19 tests Thursday out of the 1,055 tests administered Wednesday, bringing the college to 39 positives reported in the past week. 

The spring semester’s total now sits at 148, an increase of about 147 percent from the 60 positives reported in the fall semester.

Thursday’s dashboard update also reported 28 community members in isolation on campus and 48 in quarantine on campus, a significant increase from the total this time last week, when five were reported to be in on campus isolation and 10 in on campus quarantine. 

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.