Three new confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Tuesday, the Test MV site confirmed three new cases. — Lexi Pline

There are three new confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on Martha’s Vineyard, with 79 total cases to date, according to an update by the boards of health.

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital reported no new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, however, a report by the boards of health issued later in the day showed three new cases tacked onto TestMV’s count of 16. The hospital has reported three new cases this month as well after having no new cases in June and nine in July.

On Tuesday, the total number of patients tested for the virus at the hospital since it began testing in March is 3,336. Of those, 40 have tested positive, 3,225 have tested negative, and 71 are pending results.

There have been seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Martha’s Vineyard since the start of the month. The other case comes from the TestMV site operated by Island Health Care (IHC) at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, bringing its total number of positives to 19. As of Tuesday, TestMV has tested 8,665 patients, with 7,892 negatives, and 754 tests still pending. The TestMV site tests asymptomatic individuals and is also open for re-testing as well.

Pending tests continue to remain high due to a high demand. According to the IHC website, increased capacity at the Quest lab in Marlborough along with innovations in pool testing, turnaround times for test results are now averaging five days.

Pool testing is when test samples are combined from several people and tested all at once to detect COVID-19. If a pooled test results in a negative, all samples can be presumed negative; if positive, all samples will need to be tested individually. This is helpful in an area such as Martha’s Vineyard, where the rate of positive tests is low.

“We have recently increased capacity through several lab innovations. These include the use of specimen pooling, which is now in place at three of our laboratories, and improvements in RNA specimen extraction. We have also expanded our lab referral network to include a half dozen laboratories to facilitate greater access to COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing,” a statement on IHC’s website from Quest reads. “We now have capacity to perform 150,000 COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests a day. We expect to expand capacity further to 185,000 tests per day by Labor Day, with further gains possible.”

While results will take longer for asymptomatic individuals, first responders and health care workers can continue to expect results within one to two days.

On Monday, the town of Aquinnah reported it has conducted 81 tests, with 73 total negatives and eight pending results. 

The MVH, the town of Aquinnah, boards of health, and TestMV, the testing site at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, each report their own testing numbers. Those numbers are then all compiled by the boards of health. The actual number of cases can be difficult to count due to lag time and overlaps in testing each day.

Of all the Island’s positive cases, 49 are no longer symptomatic and have been released from isolation.

The boards of health have linked 23 of the confirmed cases to several cases among eight different household groups. 

Of the 56 confirmed cases, 34 are female, and 22 are male. Of those, 15 of the cases are aged 50-59 years old, 13 are 20-29 years old, eight cases are 60-69 years old, six are 30-39 years old, eight are 20 years old or younger, three are 40-49, and three are 70 years or older.

The boards of health are also reporting on probable cases. The Island’s total number of presumed positives is 20. Of those 17 were positive antibody tests, and three were symptomatically positive.

Of the probable cases, 12 are female and eight are male. Of the 20 presumed positive cases, seven are aged 60-69, four are aged 50-59, three are aged 40-49, three are aged 20-29, two are under 20 years old, and one is over the age of 70.

At the state level Tuesday, there were 296 new confirmed cases, bringing the state total to 112,969. There were 10 new deaths which brought the total number of deaths to 8,529. There have been 1,759,976 tests conducted across Massachusetts.