Updated 4:15 pm
The number of confirmed cases on-Island continues to rise, hitting 24 Thursday afternoon, according to the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health.
Overall, the Martha’s Vineyard has tested 537 people with 23 positive tests, 513 negative tests, and one pending test. As of Thursday, no COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized on the Island.
The 24th case was a patient who was tested off-Island and therefore was not counted in the hospital’s update.
Of the 24 confirmed cases, 13 are female and 11 are male. Eight of the cases are aged 50-59 years old, seven cases are 60-69 years old, two are 30-39 years old, five are 20-29 years old, one is 40-49, and another is 20 years old or younger.
The hospital has implemented new criteria for the tests. Schepici said the biggest change is the removal of the age criteria, allowing for testing of all symptomatic patients. Testing has also been expanded to anyone who is showing symptoms of a new cough, a new sore throat, a fever, new nasal congestion, new shortness of breath, new muscle aches, and new loss of smell.
At the state level Thursday, the number of newly reported confirmed cases was 1,696 and new deaths were at 132. There are now a total of 73,721 cases and 4,552 deaths statewide. Hospitalizations remained steady at 5 percent of the total cases and 351,632 people have been tested for COVID-19.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker stressed the importance of large-scale contact tracing because of how “insidious” COVID-19 can be.
“This virus for many people is asymptomatic. They’re not going to show symptoms, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a carrier and it doesn’t mean they can’t infect other people — they can,” Baker said. “This virus makes some people deathly ill, it actually kills other people, and there’s a bunch of people there’s no apparent outward sign at all.”
He urged people to answer the phone for contact tracing. Caller ID should display MA COVID Team
“If you get a call or a text from your local board of health or the COVID team it’s vital you take that call,” Baker said.
Contact tracing phone calls should come from an 833 or 857 phone number, according to Baker. So far, the joint effort between the Department of Public Health, local boards of health, and Partners in Health, a non-profit healthcare organization based in Boston, has connected with 14,000 individuals with a confirmed case of COVID-19, reaching out to 7,500 of their close contacts. Baker also added that the median number of close contacts has been two, a sign that social distancing is working.
With only 50 percent of calls being answered, Baker stressed the importance of answering the phone.
Callers will not ask for Social Security, bank, or other personal information.
Updated to include current state numbers and new confirmed case on-Island. — Ed.