Six new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Island hits 200 confirmed cases since March, 118 in the past three weeks.

Cases continue to be reported by both the hospital and TestMV. - Rich Saltzberg

Six new cases and one new symptomatically diagnosed case of COVID-19 were reported by public health officials Tuesday, three from the TestMV site and three from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

The new cases Tuesday make 37 new cases since Monday, when the Island reported 31 new cases — 12 on Saturday, three on Sunday, and 16 new cases reported Monday, continuing a troubling trend for an Island that saw 64 new positive cases last week.

The Island has seen a sharp uptick in cases since Oct. 26 when health officials reported a cluster of 10 cases linked to a wedding. Since then, the Island has reported 118 new cases, which is 59 percent of the Island’s total confirmed cases — the other 41 percent of cases were spread out over seven months since testing began in March. Of all the cases public health officials have linked 71 or 39 percent to another case on the Island — including one group of 19 individuals.

Another cluster was linked to Cronig’s Market where 14 employees, including owner Steve Bernier, and four relatives of employees have tested positive for the virus.

The recent spike in cases on Martha’s Vineyard is centered in Tisbury, which has pushed the town into the red — meaning highest risk — in the state’s town-by-town data collected by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The town has accounted for 30 cases over the past 14 days, according to the data from last week. Based on a population of 100,000, that would translate into 51.3 cases. The positivity rate is at 4.04%, which is above the overall positivity rate statewide of 2.90%.

On Friday the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health reported that 55 of the Island’s now 200 total confirmed cases are active and being monitored by public health officials. 

Tisbury joins 30 other communities on the list at higher risk for community spread. Edgartown is in the yellow with 16 new cases, and Oak Bluffs had six new cases. West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah remain unchanged in the data.

Cases have been linked to the temporary closing of The Ritz in Oak Bluffs, the temporary closure of Tony’s Market recently, and several cases in the schools. Edgartown School delayed its return to in-person instruction by a week as a result of a recent case there. The Steamship Authority has also had a couple of recent cases involving ferry employees.

In total the hospital, which tests individuals based on a strict set of criteria including those who are symptomatic, has tested 7,356 individuals since testing began in March. Of those 150 have tested positive, 7,018 have tested negative, and 188 are pending results.

As of Tuesday, TestMV, which tests asymptomatic individuals, has tested 20,955 individuals since it began testing in May. Of those, 70 have tested positive, 20,244 negative, and 641 pending results. The TestMV numbers show an increase of four cases on Tuesday, but one of those cases was a repeat positive.

TestMV, which is returning to five-day-a-week testing amid the surge, tested 402 individuals on Tuesday. On Friday, officials at TestMV said there were 450 scheduled tests, the most tests the site has seen since the site opened. Friday is also expected to pass 20,000 total tests conducted at the site since testing began in May.

The town of Aquinnah is also conducting its own testing. Aquinnah has tested 316 individuals with zero positives, 312 negatives, and four pending results.

The surge in cases is happening statewide. On Monday, the Department of Public Health reported 1,9676 positive cases — a 3.17 percent positivity rate with an estimated 31,768 active cases statewide.

The state continues to see new deaths, as well, with 12 reported Monday for a total of 10,340.