Massachusetts reports 85 new coronavirus cases

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

Photo: State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Frankie Rowley, Deputy Express Editor

Massachusetts reported 85 new coronavirus cases Thursday, down from the 116 cases reported Wednesday. The death toll rose by 7.

Thursday’s report marks the lowest cases have reached since July 19, 2020 when 74 cases were reported and the fourth time this week cases have been under 200—a mark last reached this time last year. Cases statewide have plummeted in recent weeks, regularly falling below 500 per day and reaching levels not seen since last summer. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. On Thursday, the seven-day test positivity rate with higher education testing removed sat at 0.7 percent down from the 0.9 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 0.5 percent. 

The state reported 171 hospitalizations Thursday, down from the 203 reported this time last week. 

On Thursday, Massachusetts reported 31,202 new vaccinations, bringing the state’s total to 8,206,687. More than 56 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 positive COVID-19 tests on Thursday out of the 50 tests administered on Wednesday.  Zero community members were reported to be in on-campus isolation or quarantine. 

Since summer testing began on May 3, Emerson has reported one positive test out of the 1,857 tests administered. 

The spring semester testing cycle concluded with 169 positive COVID-19 tests reported and a positivity rate of 0.21 percent, compared to the 60 cases and 0.12 percent positivity rate reported in the fall. Over the fall and spring semesters, 229 positive tests were reported, adding up to a 0.17 percent positivity rate. 

The college’s dashboard is typically 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.