Massachusetts reports 825 new coronavirus cases

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Photo: State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

Massachusetts reported 825 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, a slight rise from the 821 new infections reported Monday. The death toll rose by 4.

Tuesday’s total is the second time cases have dipped below 900 since Oct. 21—and the second day in a row. The last time cases were this low, the state was on the precipice of a wintertime surge. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Tuesday, the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education testing removed sat at 3.0 percent, down from the 3.7 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 1.7 percent. 

The state reported 628 hospitalizations Tuesday, down from the 708 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations are on the decline after slowly rising over the past three weeks. 

On Tuesday, Massachusetts reported 87,133 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 5,827,318. Over 34 percent of the state’s population is now fully inoculated against COVID-19—meaning they have received both doses of the vaccines manufactured by Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

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Emerson reported no new positive COVID-19 tests on Tuesday, out of the 248 tests administered on Monday—the sixth straight day of testing. The college did not reach that benchmark over either semester’s regular testing cycles. 

Tuesday’s dashboard update also reported no community members in on-campus quarantine and isolation, respectively. This time last week, five people were reported to be in on-campus isolation and one 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. 

The spring semester’s positive tests total remains at 166, an increase of about 177 percent from the 60 positives reported in the fall semester.

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.