Massachusetts reports 892 new coronavirus cases, lowest since October

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

Photo: State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

Massachusetts reported 892 new coronavirus cases Monday, a significant decline from the 1,281 new infections reported Sunday. The death toll rose by 18. 

Cases within the state have steadily declined over the past month, reaching lows last seen in late October following the winter holiday spike. Monday’s report marks the lowest single day cases since Oct. 20 and the lowest death toll since Oct. 19

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 2.8 percent, down from the 2.9 percent reported this time last week. The rate that includes higher education sits at 1.7 percent. 

The state reported 672 total hospitalizations on Monday, down from the 788 reported this time last week. Hospitalizations have declined substantially over the course of the past month after they spiked amid the state’s wintertime surge.

Massachusetts reported 25,931 vaccinations administered on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 2,143,793. Over ten 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, or one dose of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.    

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Emerson reported two new positive COVID-19 tests on Monday out of 973 tests administered on Mar. 5, bringing the college’s cumulative positive tests to 153. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 86,971.

The college is seeing a decline in the number of positive test results being reported each week. Last week marked just the third time during the spring semester the number of positives fell below double digits—and the second straight week. 

Since testing resumed on Jan. 11, the college has reported 93 positive tests—topping the 60 reported over the entire fall semester—and a positivity rate of .25 percent. 

Monday’s dashboard update also reported two community members in isolation on campus and one in quarantine on campus. 

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.