UPDATED: COVID-19 cluster linked to wedding

Sources believed to be wedding guests who left the Island a day after the event.

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On Tuesday, eight of the 11 new cases were from the TestMV site. - Lexi Pline

Updated Oct. 28

The number of cases stemming from a wedding held over the long weekend earlier this month continue to grow with another positive COVID-19 case reported on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s new case makes nine total cases linked to the wedding, seven of which were reported on Martha’s Vineyard and two of which were reported in out-of-state wedding guests that were diagnosed after leaving the Island, according to Tisbury health agent and boards of health spokesperson Maura Valley.

Of the seven cases the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health are following, two are no longer symptomatic and have completed their isolation and been released. The other five cases are still being monitored by public health officials.

Contact tracers reached out to the individuals connected to the wedding held over the holiday weekend, advising them of their exposure and their need to quarantine and be tested.

“We continue to investigate in the hopes of preventing any further spread associated with the event,” the a earlier release reads.

The release also advises caution for families with college students returning home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Per state guidelines, students returning home from a high-risk state must fill out a state travel form prior to returning and produce a negative test 72 hours before arrival.

“Although this outbreak is unfortunate, the wedding is only one of many public gatherings held on the Island and should also serve as a reminder that we must remain vigilant in observing COVID safety guidelines,” the release reads.

The release also advises people to stay home if feeling sick, social distance up to six feet from others, cover mouth and nose with masks, and avoid large gatherings when possible.

At a meeting Tuesday night, Tisbury select board expressed disappointment with news of the cluster. “It’s pretty discouraging to me,” chair Jim Rogers said, noting what a good job the Island has done to get businesses open and keep COVID-19 infections down. “And in one weekend, a group of people come down and have a wedding, and we have the largest cluster we’ve had since this whole thing started. We need to stay vigilant. We want our restaurants to be able to stay open, even in a limited fashion, and we want our businesses to be able to stay open.”

The news of the cluster comes as the Island and the state are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, the Island saw six new cases of COVID-19, including a patient hospitalized at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. That patient has since been released. 

The hospital has tested a total of 6,060 patients since March. Of those, 54 have tested positive, 5,929 tested negative, and 77 are pending results.

The hospitalization was the second this month for the hospital, who admitted a patient earlier this month before discharging them a day later.

In April, the hospital transferred three COVID-19-positive patients off-Island. One of those patients died in Boston, “due to medical complications not proven to be related to COVID-19,” according to a hospital spokesperson at the time.

On Monday, TestMV reported four new cases, but one of those cases was also tested at the hospital.

TestMV has tested 17,950 individuals with 42 positive tests, 17,383 negative tests, and 525 pending results. The town of Aquinnah has tested 301 individuals. Of those 299 have tested negative and two are pending results.

The Martha’s Vineyard boards of health have confirmed another case, bringing the Island’s total number of confirmed cases since March to 95.

Of the Island’s 95 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 84 are no longer symptomatic and have been released from isolation. Five are still being monitored by public health officials.

Through contact tracing, the cases of 33 individuals, or 37 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. Also, due to some patients being tested at the hospital and TestMV, the number of confirmed cases from each testing site and the total number of cases can not add up.

Of the 95 confirmed cases, 55 are female and 40 are male. Of those, 18 of the cases are 50-59 years old, 19 are 20-29 years old, 12 cases are 60-69 years old, 18 are 30-39 years old, 13 are 20 years old or younger, eight are 40-49, and seven 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.

The Island’s new cases come as Massachusetts sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases. On Monday, the state reported 1,216 new cases — the second day in a row of more than a 1,000 new cases — totaling 148,336 cases since testing began. The state is also continuing to see COVID-related deaths with 17 new deaths on Sunday total 9,657 since the pandemic began.

Updated to include a comment from the Tisbury select board and new case. — Ed.