Massachusetts reports 5,130 new coronavirus cases


State House News Service

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

By Charlie McKenna

Massachusetts reported 5,130 new coronavirus cases Thursday, down rise from the 5,625 new infections reported Wednesday. The state’s death total rose by 41.

The recent spike in cases prompted Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to roll back the state’s reopening Tuesday. Baker announced the state would be moving from phase three, step two back to step one of phase three. 

“The rate Massachusetts residents are getting infected and the rate at which they are needing medical care, if all continues to move at this pace, is simply not sustainable over time, and our health care system will be put at risk,” Baker said.

Now, two weeks out from thanksgiving, any potential spread resulting from holiday travel and gatherings will begin appearing in case data. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—with higher education testing and without. The seven day test positivity rate with higher education testing removed sits at 7.75 percent, up from 6.85 percent a week ago. 

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are currently surging. On Thursday, the state reported 1,607 total hospitalizations, compared to 1,324 last week.

Emerson reported no new positives Thursday, leaving the college’s cumulative positive tests at 57. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 50,564. 

Over the course of the past three weeks, Emerson has reported 25 positive tests on 6,812 tests—a positivity rate of .37 percent. The positivity rate for a three week period never exceeded .2 percent during the semester. 

Students remaining on campus through winter break will be 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.