Updated 4:15 pm
Tisbury health agent Maura Valley confirmed a ninth COVID-19 case on the Island Tuesday that was diagnosed symptomatically.
In addition to the ninth case, Valley also released that of the nine confirmed Island cases, four are male and five are female. Six of the confirmed cases are between the ages of 50-59, while there is one confirmed case in each of the 20-29, 30-39, and 60-69 age brackets.
While the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital did not confirm any new cases Tuesday morning, the hospital has collected 101 tests with 76 negative tests and 17 pending results. The hospital still reports having zero patients hospitalized.
Island COVID-19 testing data will be updated daily by clicking here.
Preparing for a surge of confirmed cases of COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker announced he is extending his order to close non-essential businesses and his stay-at-home advisory to May 4.
The new order will take effect on April 1 at noon. The order also extends to the limit of 10-person gatherings to May 4 and social distancing guidelines as well. The state will be issuing an updated list of exempted businesses and organizations.
“If we can limit face-to-face, person-to-person contact now we can slow the spread and get back to work as soon and as safely as we possibly can,” Baker said.
A more strict stay-at-home order and construction ban remains in effect on Martha’s Vineyard.
During his press conference, Baker once again urged people not to go on vacation. When asked about anticipating the need for local enforcement on the extension concerning hotels and motels, Baker said his order was similar to an order made by Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, who ordered all lodgings, including Airbnb and hotels, to suspend operations.
“Local officials will have the ability to basically shut these down if they find them,” Baker said. “I fully expect there will be places where this will be a big deal, the biggest one I can think of right off the top of my head is the Cape.”
On Tuesday, the Department of Public Health (DPH) released its daily count of confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19, showing 868 new cases in Massachusetts for a total confirmed case count of 6,620. Thirty-three new deaths brought the state total to 89. More than 46,000 people in the state have been tested. (The chart still connects Dukes and Nantucket counties showing just eight cases between the two, an indication that the DPH stats are behind.)
While the hospital is no longer taking food donations, they are accepting personal protective equipment (PPE) such as disposable face masks rated N95, TYVEK, TYCHEM, and Cleanguard suits, and any shoe covers. Face shields are also being accepted. People donating supplies should email email@example.com.
The hospital has updated its call center hours. If experiencing symptoms call the hospital call center at 508-684-4500 from 8 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday, and 8:30 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Island Food Pantry president Margaret Hannenann said she wants to make sure any Vineyard senior in need of food has food. To that end, any Island senior in need of food or any caregiver for an Island senior in need, should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a delivery. At this time, she said, anyone in need of food can reach out to the Island Food Pantry via that address.
As per statewide directives, Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee said he and the rest of the officers and staff at the station are reluctantly asking members of the community to hold off on food donation to the police department for the time being.
“It’s just any food from outside the station,” McNamee said. “Even if someone is remarkably well-intentioned, if there is a possibility they were exposed to infection, it could get an officer sick. We just can’t handle that right now.”
The decision to temporarily cease the collection of food donations at the station, McNamee said, has not been taken lightly by members of the department.
“Don’t think that does not come without concern from the troops, we have come to very much appreciate the support,” McNamee said. “This decision is not forever, we and the community would very much miss the donations.”
According to McNamee, there were recommendations to police departments statewide to reduce the possibility of infection by cutting down on foot traffic, closing down common spaces, and diminishing the amount of direct contact officers have with the public.
“No police department wants to be like this. Four months ago we had carolers in the lobby of the police station,” McNamee said. “This isn’t a decision we take lightly, it’s a decision we can’t wait to rescind.”
On Monday, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital CEO Denise Schepici also said the hospital can no longer accept food donations.
Reporters Lucas Thors and Rich Saltzberg contributed to this report. Updated to include information from Gov. Baker press briefing.