Massachusetts reports 6,135 new coronavirus cases


State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

By Charlie McKenna

Massachusetts reported 6,135 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, a drastic rise from the 3,659 new infections reported Tuesday. The death toll rose by 118.

Wednesday’s total is the second-highest total over a 24 hour period since the pandemic began.  

The recent spike in cases prompted Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh to roll back the city’s reopening Dec. 14. 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 city surpassed 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. The seven-day test positivity rate without higher education sits at 9.37 percent Wednesday, a sharp uptick from Tuesday’s 8.58 percent rate. That rate fell as low as 7.02 percent last week. 

The last time single day cases topped 6,000 in Massachusetts was on Dec. 3, when the state reported 6,477 new infections, the highest single-day case total to date. 

The 118 deaths were significantly higher than the 7-day average which sits at 58. 

The state reported 2,257 total hospitalizations Tuesday, compared to 2,066 this time last week. That figure constitutes 84 percent of the state’s total non-surge hospital capacity.

Emerson reported no new positives out of just 82 new tests administered last Monday. The college’s COVID-19 dashboard has not been updated in more than a week.

Last month, Emerson reported 28 new positives, 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 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.