Massachusetts reports 2,263 new coronavirus cases


State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Dana Gerber, News Editor

Massachusetts reported 2,263 new coronavirus cases Saturday, a rise from the 2,160 new infections reported Tuesday. The death toll rose by 36. 

Saturday’s case total marks the fourth day this week and the fourth day in a row cases have surpassed 2,000, the seventh time in 10 days cases have cleared that bench mark. Cases have not topped 2,000 regularly since early February. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Saturday the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sat at 4.0, the same as the rate reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 2.4 percent. 

The state reported 707 total hospitalizations Wednesday, up from the 654 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. Thursday marked the first time hospitalizations reached 700 since March 4. 

On Wednesday, Massachusetts reported 97.690 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 3,832,132. About 21 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 15 new positive COVID-19 tests on Saturday out of the 2,207 tests administered Thursday and Friday, bringing the spring semester’s total to 131, an increase of about 118 percent from the 60 positives reported in the fall semester. The 26 new positives reported this week marks the largest weekly total positives reported over the course of any week in the fall or spring semesters.

Tuesday’s dashboard update also reported 15 community members in isolation on campus and 30 in quarantine on campus, the highest reported number of students in on-campus quarantine since at least early February. 

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.