Update: Tisbury resident ‘positive’ for COVID-19

Mansion House, Blau’s restaurants to close.

There is one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Tisbury. – Lexi Pline

A Tisbury resident, a 50-year-old male, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a press release from the Tisbury board of health.
“The patient is under quarantine at their Tisbury home and appears to be recovering,” the release states. “The patient’s family and close contacts have been identified, and are in self-quarantine and taking all recommended precautions.”

The release states that “in order to protect the patient’s privacy, we will not be releasing any further identifying information. Rest assured that the Tisbury board of health has followed [Centers for Disease Control] and [Department of Public Health] guidelines for tracing and isolating close contacts to prevent further spread of the illness from this particular case.”

Health agent Maura Valley said the individual arrived on the Island via the Steamship Authority. “They took a freight boat and remained in their vehicle the entire trip,” Valley wrote in an email to The Times.

Even ferry customers who stay in their vehicles receive a boarding pass upon checking in, and hand it to an SSA employee before driving onto the vessel. 

Sean Driscoll, a spokesman for the Steamship Authority (SSA), wrote in a text message that ferry service has not been contacted by health officials. “I certainly would expect to hear from them if they felt there was a risk to our employees,” he said.

Jim Malkin, the Island’s representative to the SSA board, declined to comment on whether the ferry workers should have been notified. “The SSA will take all appropriate steps to protect its employees,” he said.

A worker at the house told The Times the resident was previously from New York, and came to the Island to close on a home with their partner. The worker said he was contacted by the board of health, but had no direct contact with them and, as a result, is not quarantined.
The confirmed case comes as the number of cases statewide jumped to 413 on Friday — up 85 from the previous day, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

Meanwhile, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital says it still has no patients with the virus.

If a patient is suspected of having COVID-19, clinicians should immediately implement recommended infection and control practices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Practices include limiting germs that enter the hospital, isolating symptomatic patients, and protecting healthcare personnel. 

The hospital is following strict Department of Public Health guidelines for testing patients.

All testing and analysis of tests across the commonwealth is being handled by the DPH; however, the hospital can collect samples for testing onsite. 

According to Katrina Delgadillo, the hospital spokesman, if someone feels ill, they should call their primary care physician.

The physician or nurse performs screening over the phone with specific questions. If those questions result in the physician thinking that the patient may be a good candidate to meet the state’s requirements for testing, the physician works with the state epidemiologist to determine next steps.

If approved by the state, that patient may be tested at the hospital. They will then send the test kit with the patient’s samples to the state lab for processing.

Also on Thursday, Mansion House announced in a Facebook post that it was closing as a result of concerns about the spread of coronavirus. 

“As of today we are not taking any reservations. We are very concerned about our year-round employees. We are helping in every way we can,” the post reads. “For those who live in employee housing, we assured them that their housing did not depend on showing up. Many will continue to work as we gear up for when we reopen. We hope that is sooner than later.”

The State House News Service reported 17,000 hotel jobs in Massachusetts have been lost as a result of the pandemic so far.

Earlier in the week, Gov. Charlie Baker ordered dine-in restaurants and bars to shut down, forcing Island restaurants to either move to takeout service or close. Other small businesses have followed.

Restaurateur J.B. Blau, who owns Copper Wok, two Sharky’s Cantinas, M.V. Chowder Co., and the Loft, was one of many restaurant owners who made the switch to takeout only, but late Thursday night, Blau announced on his Facebook page he would be closing all his restaurants for the indefinite future, beginning on March 21 at 9 pm.

“I am growing increasingly worried about my staff, our guests, and the M.V. community. Takeout sales have allowed us to keep some people employed, and your generosity has been awe-inspiring. But the time to close is here,” Blau wrote in a post. He added that all staff in employee housing will not have to pay rent during the shutdown.

The restaurant industry makes up 10 percent of the Massachusetts workforce — not including vendors that supply those restaurants. Steve Clark, director of government affairs at the Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA) told The Times the MRA didn’t have a number on how many employees had been laid off, but did say the number was high.

“It’s a lot,” Clark said. “Many places are closed. Essentially you have the entire ecosystem on pause.”

Tisbury Police are taking precautions of their own, limiting the number of contacts members of the public have with officers from a safe distance.

A police officer will be stationed in the downstairs lobby from 8 am to 6 pm. After 6 pm, the station door will be locked, and people will have to ring the buzzer for assistance.

Gov. Baker activated the Massachusetts National Guard on Thursday, planning to use up to 2,000 members for “logistical support and other assistance,” the State House News Service reported. The Guard will be used to respond to local and state requests for equipment, logistics, warehousing, and other duties, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the Island’s Registry of Motor Vehicles office remains closed. “The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) opened eight service centers on March 18 that remain the only locations open, and the Martha’s Vineyard property is not one of them,” Judith Riley, a spokeswoman for the RMV, wrote. “The eight centers were opened after an evaluation that prioritizes, in part, ADA features, facility size, and capacity. The RMV extended the deadlines for customers that have some credentials, and encourages people to check online, as more than 40 transactions can be done without coming in: mass.gov/RMV.”


  1. I think most of us differ in thinking from the president on this. Everyone should be tested. When you take all these extreme precautions I dont think its asking too much to test everyone. Id like to know if I have it, I have aging parents and dont want them to get it.

      • I hope phase 1 of the bill congress passed does it. This is new territory shutting down a country to buy time for a cure. When we had H1N1 we had thousands of deaths b4 we came up with a cure. We didnt even test for it.

      • Donx3…Why do you think you need a test? Could it possibly be due to your completely irresponsible decision to travel during this time, when everyone was asked to stay home, avoid crowds (LIKE AIRPORTS!)…but no, you had tickets to Barbados, and by God, or should I say by the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, you were going to go, everyone else be damned, because I’m Donx3 and I know everything about everything…and your snarky comment to someone belittling them because they couldn’t afford to go to Barbados just shows what a little man you are….you owe them a public apology on this forum.

        • Interesting- I bear no ill will to Don-cubed, but he is normally quick to engage in debate and this silence is out of character. Is he struggling for a cogent reply after being called on the carpet by TQ? Is there more to him than just liberal talking points? Stay tuned…..

          • wesley– I do not sit by the computer waiting for people to say something about me. I do have a life. TQ posted at 11 am — your comment was 9 hours later.
            I am commenting here less than 2 hours after your comment.
            And being “called on the carpet” ?
            Read my reply to tq..

          • “Called on the carpet” by TQ? That’s like my dog being outraged and whining because he can’t understand why I have to do things without him. But funny comment, Wesley, thank you.

        • TQ— I don’t need or want a test, as I have no symptoms 13 days after going through a major U.S airport, that seemed to care nothing about the virus.
          my original comment about coming into the U.S on march 10 was a critique of the flat footed response of the trump administration.
          Let me give you a timeline :
          I left the island on Feb 29.
          At that time, no one was being asked to stay at home.
          There were 15 cases in the western part of the country, and our idiot in chief claimed they would all be gone in a few days. On Feb 28 your great leader called the whole thing “{the democrat’s} new hoax”
          Perhaps you have an alternative reality about what was going on then.
          Really– would you have cancelled your trip ?
          Let me remind you that schools were open, no stores or restaurants were closed, and the school trip to new York was cancelled 4 days after I had arrived in Barbados. On march 4th trump suggested that people could go to work and get better if they were sick. On March 9 3 teachers at various island schools were quarantined as a precaution . Islander commented “The 21st person in the United States just died from the Coronavirus while over 20,000 Americans have died so far this Winter from the seasonal flu.”
          On the same day After an advisory from the CDC about travel to Italy, the Charter School canceled it’s trip to Italy. It was the same day trump said the fake news and the democrats were doing everything to inflame the corona virus situation. That all occurred on my last day in Barbados.
          I was back on United States soil when governor Baker (who I voted for) declared an emergency. , The schools closed, and things started getting serious.
          Yet you accuse me of being “completely irresponsible” for leaving the country — going to a place that did not have it’s first case until about 4 days after I was back.
          If you want talk about irresponsibility, you should turn your attention to our idiot leader who takes no responsibility whatsoever, politicians like Devin Nunes who “urged Americans to go out and visit bars and restaurants” on March 15 th– or local village idiots here who until very recently, downplayed every aspect of this crisis. Even going so far as to offer a wager to me about the final body count.
          If anyone is owed an apology, it is me. Your comment about me was totally uncalled for and incorrect.
          Is that an adequate reply for you, Wesley ?

          • Absolutely. You have answered with facts, logic and reality. A large portion fo the island was traveling during that time, including many families with children during the school vacation. TQ- you gave a cheap shot that was askew of the facts, “Fake News” at its most egregious. If you have any decency, you will apologize. Well done, Don- tip of the hat to you.

          • Donx3…why did I know your reply would be all political….you’re ignoring the ”Law of Holes”…when you’re in one , stop digging! And, don’t fret, I won’t reply to anything else you have to say.

        • TQ–
          You can call my response political, but the facts remain.
          I also know about the “‘law of holes”. I am curious as to how you think I even started digging a hole by agreeing with Red Sox and asking how we could get tested. After all, on March 6 th trump said “anybody who wants a test gets a test.” You can dismiss the news media for quoting him on lie number 15 thousand five hundred and something, and say that Hillary lied, and the liberals have TDS, and Obama this and Al Gore that. But the fact is, TQ that people are dying because of that lie. ” Nobody died when Clinton Lied”
          Too bad you can’t reply–

    • We need to marshal our resources. Testing everyone makes no sense. Testing needs to be aggressively targeted to those places with people showing symptoms. Especially since so many of our elected ‘leaders'(see that times?) have dithered in their response and we are playing catch up.

      • I believe that the Times used the single quotation marks correctly in the headline because it is used for emphasis, an appropriate use of single quotation marks, (along with how to distinguish a quote from within a quote). Without those single quotation marks, the headline could be confusing, making it seem that the resident had a positive feeling abou the virus. I’m no grammar expert, but I believe your use of the single quotations marks around “leaders” is incorrect. I think it requires the double quotation marks.

  2. Why is positive in quotes? It adds a hint of doubt to the headline. What purpose do the quotation marks serve?

  3. Why are we taking all these extra precautions when the Steamship Authority keeps bringing hundreds of workers over every day? These folks come from all over the state and in many instances out of state. If we’re going to overreact, we need to overreact all the way.

    • I would change the headline to Tisbury “Resident” Tests Positive for COVID-19. The man came here to close on a house, where he is now being quarantined.

  4. Everyone is behaving fairly well according to best practices, certainly not perfectly, but if this extends and extends people will just revolt and start going out and mixing…..people are not used to being penned up. As much as most everyone wishes to comply, I see people just getting fed up before long. Hope not, but humans are capricious creatures.

  5. I called the MVH coronavirus hotline this morning on behalf of a loved one. I spoke with a volunteer named Tracy who explained that only healthcare workers are presently being tested. I was advised that the person I know who suspects she has COVID-19 should just stay home unless she has breathing complications. The numbers the media is showing are way lower because of this lack of testing–so most likely there are many more cases on MV and elsewhere. Tracy said information is constantly changing.

  6. There are people who show no symptoms but could possibly “carriers” of the virus. I think they should go beyond “only” testing people with symptoms.
    We should be testing all people who have been in contact with a person that has tested positive.
    Showing symptoms or not showing symptoms.
    How can we slow the spread of this virus by sticking our heads in the sand?
    If we don’t test, we won’t know.

    • oaks bluff–I agree in full– test should be available to everyone- if you knew you had it, the great majority of responsible citizens would quarantine themselves. There are exceptions of course …
      “Sheriff Joe” encouraged his hundreds of thousands of followers to defy social distancing suggestions and take to the streets — that one was deleted off of social media. — Devin Nunes, on march 15 th urged his followers to go out to bars and restaurants.
      But back to testing– something is wrong here– we keep hearing from our president that testing is available for everyone, and that there will be more than enough test kits very soon– he keeps telling us it will be ‘fantastic”. The heath care professionals however say they do not have anywhere near enough test kits. Which is why we have 35 positive test on the island. The priority, as it should be, is to test the health care workers. It’s like putting your oxygen mask on first in a decompression situation on an airplane– then help others . But the sad fact seems to be there are only enough test kits to insure the safety of our dedicated professionals.

      I am reminded of “Boxer” , in the book “Animal Farm” by George Orwell — Boxer was the largest and strongest horse on the farm . How many of us play his role ? He worked hard ,was proud of what he did , and thought he was doing his best for society. In reality, he was a not so bright worker, being exploited by the pigs, and ultimately, his expendable life came to an abrupt end in a glue factory. Think about it— if you have never read the book, I recommend it– it’s an easy read.
      And, spoiler alert–I will tell you , this book is not really about a farm.

      • And airplanes have oxygen masks for every passenger on board. Imagine if Trump were not a liar and everyone could be tested. Social distancing and mass testing and trustworthy leadership are what we need. The President is too incompetent to guide and give us any of that. 6 of his high income-producing properties are shut down. That’s all he cares about as this country moves into Death Panel mode.

  7. On a news programFriday, one of the experts was asked questions about I inability to test everyone who would like to be tested. He recommended “acting as if” you tested positive. I like that suggestion.

Comments are closed.