Nantucket sees jump in COVID-19 cases

Cases continue to rise across the state.

An aerial view of Nantucket from the tower of the First Congregational Church. Nantucket has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases — Angela Prout

Nantucket Cottage Hospital (NCH) has reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, according to a statement from the hospital issued Monday.

Nantucket officials have linked a cluster of the 19 cases to a church gathering, according to the statement. The church was not identified.

These new positive tests have increased the Nantucket’s seven-day positive rate to 4.3 percent. The patients were all tested at the hospital’s drive-through testing site.

Nantucket has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. As of Sunday, NCH has tested 9,068 patients, with 125 positive cases. There have been 62 confirmed cases on Nantucket in the past 17 days. By comparison, the Vineyard has seen 74 confirmed cases since it began testing in March.

Nantucket‘s year-round population is approximately 11,400, according to the U.S. Census, compared with Martha’s Vineyard’s year-round population of 17,300.

The NCH statement urged people to avoid large gatherings and to wear masks when out in public. “Nantucket remains classified by the state of Massachusetts as a high-risk (red) community for COVID-19 transmission, based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents. To bring this current surge in new cases of COVID-19 under control, we will need the entire island to work together to keep cases down,” the statement reads.

Amid a rise in coronavirus cases across Massachusetts, a group of doctors, state legislators, and community and labor leaders are urging Gov. Charlie Baker to implement strict workplace protections and actionable contact tracing reports, and to enact legislation to help residents comply with public health directives. The group of more than 30 organizations and 200 physicians signed a letter outlining their concerns.

On Friday, Attorney General Maura Healy announced criminal charges against two leaders at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home for their alleged role in the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. 

The Holyoke Home saw the worst outbreak in Massachusetts, where 76 residents died due to COVID-19. Healy alleges that Superintendent Bennett Walsh and former medical director David Clinton “put veterans’ lives at risk by combining residents who were symptomatic or COVID-positive into close quarters with residents who were still asymptomatic,” according to State House News Service.

While nursing homes have been especially vulnerable to COVID-19, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has reported zero cases at the Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. In May, the hospital conducted a mass testing of its Windemere residents and staff. All tests came back negative.

Meanwhile, of the Island’s 74 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 71 are no longer symptomatic, and have been released from isolation. One case was lost to a follow-up check-in, and two are being monitored.

TestMV, which is located at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, has tested 14,843 individuals with 27 positives, 14,216 negatives, and 600 pending results.

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital reports 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the hospital began testing in March. In total, the hospital has tested 4,882 individuals with 4,793 negative results and 43 pending results.

The town of Aquinnah has tested 283 individuals. All of those tests have been reported negative.

The Martha’s Vineyard boards of health have confirmed another case, bringing the Island’s total number of confirmed cases since March to 74.

Through contact tracing, the cases of 27 individuals, or 35 percent of the Vineyard’s cases, have been linked to another individual.

Due to the hospital, boards of health, and the town of Aquinnah all reporting their own data at different times of day, and due to some people being tested at multiple sites, exact numbers can be difficult to calculate.

Of the 74 confirmed cases, 46 are female and 28 are male. Of those, 17 of the cases are 50-59 years old, 16 are 20-29 years old, 11 cases are 60-69 years old, 13 are 30-39 years old, nine are 20 years old or younger, four are 40-49, and four are 70 years or older.

The boards of health are also reporting on probable cases. The Island’s total number of presumed positives is 24. Of those, 21 were positive antibody tests, and three were symptomatically positive.

Of the probable cases, 14 are female and 10 are male. Of the 24 presumed positive cases, seven are aged 60-69, five are aged 50-59, three are aged 40-49, five are aged 20-29, two are under 20 years old, and two are over the age of 70.

Massachusetts saw a rise in new cases Sunday with 594 newly reported cases, bringing the state’s total to 128,426. The state also continues to see COVID-19-related deaths. On Sunday, 13 new deaths brought the total number to 9,191.