Massachusetts reports 2,982 new coronavirus cases

Massachusetts+Governor+Charlie+Baker.+

Photo: State House News Service

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

Massachusetts reported 2,982 new coronavirus cases Friday, a rise from the 2,602 new infections reported Thursday. The death toll rose by 74.  

The 1,968 cases reported Tuesday marked the lowest number Massachusetts has seen since Nov. 30, when the state reported 1,116 confirmed cases. The figure has not dipped below 2,000 since then. 

On Friday, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced two new cases of the B.1.1.7 virus had been found in Massachusetts. The CDC reported the new cases in its variant tracking page, which monitors all cases of the three new variants of COVID-19. Massachusetts has reported 7 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant within a month, the first surfacing on Jan. 17. 

The only other New England state to report cases of the B.1.1.7 variant is Connecticut, which has a total of 17 confirmed cases.

Boston will follow the statewide capacity increase on select businesses, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Friday. Effective on Feb. 8, certain businesses, such as restaurants, museums, gyms, and movie theatres, will be allowed to operate at 40 percent capacity after being forced down to 25 percent capacity since Dec. 26. The decision comes just days after the state surpassed 500,000 total coronavirus cases, after reaching 400,000 on Jan. 8. 

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The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. The seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sits at 5.1 percent Friday, down from the 6.2 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 3.2 percent.

The state reported 1,503 total hospitalizations Friday, down from the 1,789 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations in the state have declined in recent weeks, falling by a total of 552 since Jan. 22, after rising by nearly 300 week over week during much of November and early December.

Emerson reported one new positive COVID-19 test Friday out of the 1,172 tests administered on Feb. 3. The college’s cumulative positive tests since testing began on Aug. 6 sits at 115. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 64,125. 

The one new positive reported Friday brings the spring semester total to 55, after just three full weeks of testing. In the fall, the college reported 60 positives across the four months testing was administered. 

Emerson’s test positivity rate for the spring currently sits at .42 percent. In the fall, that rate was .12 percent. 

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.

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