16 new COVID-19 cases; Stop & Shop employee tests positive

Sixteen new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

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Martha's Vineyard Hospital says that an email that went out the parent company does not affect Islanders waiting for the vaccine.

Updated 7 pm

There were 16 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend — nine from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and seven from TestMV.

As of Sunday, the hospital has tested 9,061 individuals with 248 positives, 8,749 negatives, and 64 pending results. There are currently no patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Last week the Island reported 47 new cases. In the previous three weeks, the Island has reported 45, 63, and 62 cases respectively. What started out as a promising week of fewer cases turned out to be another week in what’s been a five-week spike on the Island.

As of Monday, TestMV, which tests asymptomatic individuals, has tested 24,737 individuals since it began testing in May. Of those, 114 have tested positive, 23,291 negative, and 1,332 pending results.

The town of Aquinnah is also conducting its own testing. Aquinnah has tested 346 individuals with zero positives, 343 negatives, and three pending results.

The hospital previously reported 16 new positives over the weekend, but later corrected their report to show there were only seven hospital new cases from Saturday and Sunday.

On Monday, Stop & Shop Director of External Communications & Community Relations Jennifer Brogan confirmed in an email that one associate at the Edgartown Stop & Shop has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We have conducted an extensive deep cleaning of the entire store in strict accordance with guidelines from the CDC and state and local public health officials. The associate will not return to work until cleared as no longer contagious for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, any associates who had been in close contact with the affected associate will not return to work until they have self-quarantined for a period of 14 days, and we are continuing to insist that any other associates who feel sick at any time stay home,” Brogan wrote. “We currently do not have any other confirmed cases at our stores in Edgartown or Vineyard Haven.”

Stop & Shop associates who are required to quarantine by health or government authorities, or by Stop & Shop are given an additional two weeks paid sick leave.

“Stop & Shop associates in those scenarios would not need to use sick time or other paid time off for the 14 days they are quarantined,” Brogan wrote in a follow up email.

Stop & Shop is the latest business to report an employee testing positive for COVID-19. Last week, Waterside Market confirmed an employee had tested positive for COVID-19. Waterside Market was closed Friday and La Soffitta is closed 10 days.

In an expanded report Friday, the boards of health noted that 41 active cases are still being monitored by public health officials. These monitored cases all tested positive after Nov. 21. Public health officials have been unable to contact two cases that tested positive between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21.

Due to some individuals testing positive at both the hospital and the TestMV site, the total number of positives does not equal the number of positives added from each testing site, resulting in a discrepancy.

This weekend’s new cases show the Island is entering its sixth week of a surge in cases following Oct. 26, when public health officials reported a cluster of cases linked to a wedding at the Lambert’s Cove Inn. Since then, the Island has seen 268 cases of COVID-19 — more than all the cases reported on the Island between March and Oct. 25 combined.

Of the Island’s now 350 confirmed cases, 180 are female and 170 are male. Of those, 84 are in their 30s, 62 are in their 20s, 54 are in their 50s, 58 are in their 40s, 57 are younger than 20, 25 are in their 60s, and 10 are older than 70.

The boards of health are also keeping track of probable cases. There are 27 probable cases reported on the Island. Of those, 22 received positive antibody tests, and five have been symptomatically diagnosed. Of those, 15 are female and 12 are male. There are seven in their 60s, six in their 20s, six in their 50s, three in their 40s, two younger than 20, and three older than 70.

The surge in cases is happening statewide, with confirmed cases, positivity rates, hospitalizations, and deaths rising or staying at high numbers. On Sunday, the Department of Public Health reported 4,747 positive cases with a 5.34 percent seven-day positivity rate. The number of active cases statewide continues to climb as well, with an estimated 57,304 active cases statewide. The state continues to see new deaths as well, with 48 reported Sunday, for a total of 11,004 statewide. The average age of those deaths is 81.

In a press conference Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker vented frustration over the spike in COVID-19 cases across the state following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Baker said the data showed informal indoor gatherings are causing the spread.

“Massachusetts is experiencing a rapid increase in new positive cases in the wake of Thanksgiving,” Baker said. “After some of the new regulations we put in placein the early part of November went into effect, you could actually see our positive test rates growing, day over day, for about 10 days. And then about five to seven days, which is the typical incubation period, after Thanksgiving, they took off like a rocket.”

Updated to add information from the governor and to correct the number of cases from the hospital over the weekend.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I would love to know if Stop and Shop plans to pay the employees that are unable to work while in quarantine. Maybe the Times reporter could get that info and update the story?

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