Four new cases Saturday, 68 active, one admitted to hospital

Another Steamship Authority tests positive, as well.

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An employee assigned to the MV Katama tested positive for COVID-19. - Rich Saltzberg

Updated Nov. 22

Six newly reported cases of COVID-19 Friday and four new cases Saturday totaled 67 this week in a troubling sign for the Island as it heads into the Thanksgiving holiday next week.

There were 31 cases reported on Monday, six on Tuesday, 10 on Wednesday, and 10 on Thursday. Edgartown and Tisbury are now both in the red category (highest risk) according to the state.

Martha’s Vineyard has seen a surge of cases in the past three weeks, beginning on Oct. 26 with confirmation of a cluster linked to a wedding at the Lambert’s Cove Inn. Since then, the Island has seen 144 cases of COVID-19 — more than all the cases reported on the Island since March combined.

There are 68 active cases of COVID-19 that health officials are still following. All of the active cases are from individuals who tested positive between Nov. 8 and Nov. 20. All other cases are no longer symptomatic and have been released from isolation. Of all the cases, 108 or 44 percent are connected to at least one other case. Most of these connections are within family and household groups or small social groups. Two groups are considered clusters — the October wedding, which health officials connected eight cases to and Cronig’s Market which has reported 19 cases.

Meanwhile, the Steamship Authority reported Friday that a crew member of the MV Katama tested positive for COVID-19. The name of the employee and the individual’s position is not being disclosed.

“The employee last worked on the vessel on the watch that began with the 11:05 am trip on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, and ended with the vessel’s 10:35 am arrival in Woods Hole on Wednesday, November 18, 2020,” the SSA said in a press release. “The employee subsequently learned of a close contact who had tested positive for COVID-19; the employee was tested, received a positive result, and then notified the Authority.”

According to the SSA, the employee was unlikely to have any prolonged exposure with any member of the public during their work hours. Vessel employees who were in close contact with the affected employee have been notified, the release states. In partnership with Cape Cod Healthcare, COVID-19 testing was arranged for those employees on Friday. Those employees will not be allowed to return to work until after they receive a negative test result or are cleared to work by a medical professional.

Then on Sunday, the SSA reported a crew member aboard the MV Woods Hole on the Hyannis the Nantucket run tested positive for COVID-19, according to a press release.

The employee last worked on the vessel serving the Nantucket/Hyannis route on the watch that began with the 11:15 am trip on Saturday, November 21, 2020, and ended with the vessel’s 10:45 am arrival in Hyannis on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The employee reported experiencing flu like symptoms in the morning and was sent to Cape Cod Hospital for evaluation.The employee underwent a ‘rapid test’ for COVID-19, the results of which were positive,” the release states.

That’s the fourth SSA employee in nine days to test positive.

“I extend my sincere appreciation to Cape Cod Healthcare for arranging for this immediate testing,” general manager Robert Davis said. “They have been exceptional partners with us and the entire community throughout the pandemic, and their continued assistance has been invaluable.”

Testing continues on Island

As of Saturday the hospital, which tests individuals based on a strict set of criteria including those who are symptomatic, has tested 7,647 individuals since testing began in March. Of those, 172  have tested positive, 7,360 have tested negative, and 115 are pending results.

The hospital also has one patient admitted to the hospital. The hospital airlifted a COVID patient earlier this week who was in critical condition.

As of Friday, TestMV, which tests asymptomatic individuals, has tested 22,048 individuals since it began testing in May. Of those, 77 have tested positive, 20,730 negative, and 1,241 pending results.

TestMV is also returning to five-day-a-week testing to meet demand amid the surge in cases.

The town of Aquinnah is also conducting its own testing. Aquinnah has tested 339 individuals with zero positives, 316 negatives, and 23 pending results.

The surge in cases is happening statewide. On Thursday, the Department of Public Health reported 2,532 positive cases — a 3.17 percent seven-day positivity rate, with an estimated 34,664 active cases statewide.

The state continues to see new deaths as well, with 27 reported Thursday, for a total of 10,435 statewide.

Of the Island’s 246 confirmed cases, 128 are female and 118 are male. Of those, 55 are in their 30s, 47 are in their 20s, 37 are in their 50s, 39 are in their 40s, 38 are younger than 20, 21 are in their 60s, and nine are older than 70.

The boards of health are also keeping track of probable cases. There are 25 probable cases reported on the Island. Of those, 21 received positive antibody tests, and four have been symptomatically diagnosed. Of those, 14 are female and 11 are male. There are seven in their 60s, five in their 20s, five in their 50s, three in their 40s, two younger than 20, two older than 70, and one in their 30s.

Information on the age and gender of Saturday’s four new cases was not available.

Updated with information on Saturday’s cases and a new positive case reported by the SSA. — Ed.