Massachusetts reports 4,509 new coronavirus cases

Gov.+Charlie+Baker+speaks+to+the+media+after+receiving+a+flu+shot+at+a+CVS+in+Roslindale+on+September+17%2C+2020+in+Boston%2C+MA.

Media: Stuart Cahill/Pool Photo

Gov. Charlie Baker speaks to the media after receiving a flu shot at a CVS in Roslindale on September 17, 2020 in Boston, MA.

By Charlie McKenna, Content Managing Editor

Massachusetts reported 4,509 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, a dramatic rise from the 3,293 new infections reported Tuesday. The death total rose by 81.

The state’s cumulative case total surged past 300,000 on Friday, a grim marker that comes less than a month after Massachusetts reached the 200,00 mark on Nov. 22. New cases in Massachusetts have topped 3,000 every day since Dec. 7.

The recent spike in cases prompted Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh to roll back the city’s reopening last Wednesday. Boston will move out of phase three, step one and into phase two, step two. The new restrictions bring the closure of indoor spaces that had previously reopened, including movie theaters, gyms, museums, and indoor event spaces like meeting rooms. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—with higher education testing and without. The seven day test positivity rate without higher education sits at 7.34 percent Wednesday, compared to 7.95 percent a week ago.  

The state reported 2,066 total hospitalizations Wednesday, compared to 1,851 this time last week.

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The state’s death total has surged past daily averages on Wednesdays in the past two weeks. The seven-day average of daily deaths sits at 48, but Massachusetts reported 71 deaths last Wednesday, and 89 the Wednesday prior. 

Emerson reported no new positives out of just 82 new tests administered Monday. 

Three new positives were reported last week, bringing Emerson’s cumulative positivity rate up to .12 percent, after it fell as low .08 percent over the course of the semester. Last month, Emerson reported 28 new positives as compared to 32 between early August and late November. 

Students remaining on campus through winter break are being tested on Tuesdays each week. Administrators told The Beacon fewer than 30 students remain on campus through the break. 

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 have said 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.