Massachusetts reports 60,986 new coronavirus cases

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Photo: State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Adri Pray, Assistant Express News Editor

Massachusetts reported 60,986 new coronavirus cases Monday, the first COVID-19 report given by the state since Friday. The death toll rose by 53. 

Massachusetts has been experiencing a wintertime surge, largely due to the Omicron variant. Since entering the new year, daily cases have been exceeding 10,000, with the highest number of single-day cases to date being reported on Jan. 5, a total of 27,612.  The state’s seven-day positivity rate is now up to 22.39 percent, the highest positivity rate reported since April 2020.

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Monday, the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education removed sat at 25.12 percent, the highest percentage reported by the state since the onset of the pandemic. The rate that includes higher education sits at 22.39 percent. 

The state reported 2,923 total hospitalizations Monday, of which 1,293 reported to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 upon contracting the virus. 

State hospitals will also start to differentiate how many COVID-19 patients are admitted versus patients who are positive for COVID-19 but were admitted into the hospital for other reasons on Monday. Data collected before Monday will have included those hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and those hospitalized patients who test positive for COVID-19 while in the hospital.

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Massachusetts reported 95,613 vaccinations, including boosters, administered on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 13,042,833. About 73 percent of the state’s population is fully inoculated against COVID-19—meaning they have received both doses of the vaccines manufactured by Moderna or Pfizer, one dose of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Also on Monday, Massachusetts launched a service designed to easily provide proof of vaccination. The site, called MyVaxRecords, seeks to help simplify Mayor Michelle Wu’s city business vaccine mandate, which is slated to begin Jan. 15.

Emerson reported 21 new positive COVID-19 tests from Monday out of the 686 tests administered on Tuesday. Since testing resumed on Jan. 3, the college has reported 166 positive tests and a positivity rate of 5.32 percent. 

Since the start of December, Emerson has experienced an ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases. Within the three weeks leading up to winter break, the college reported a total of 117 cases of COVID-19, the highest number of cases ever reported by the college within a three week period. The December surge prompted Emerson to issue a series of changes to its COVID-19 protocol, most notably slating the first week of spring semester classes online and implementing a twice-a-week testing policy as students return to campus. 

Monday’s dashboard update also reported thirteen community members to be in on-campus isolation. Zero were reported to be 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.