Baker: Stay-at-home advisory, early closures end Monday

Island reports 11 new cases Thursday.

Gov. Charlie Baker is once again easing restrictions in light of improved COVID numbers and has lifted travel restrictions, as well. -State House News Service

Updated 5:10 pm 

Gov. Charlie Baker announced that the state’s stay-at-home advisory and an order requiring many businesses to close by 9:30 pm will be lifted Monday, as the state continues to see COVID-19 numbers trending in the right direction.

He added that hospitalizations are down by 10 percent since their peak in early January and that seven-day positivity rates are down from 8.7 percent in early January to 5.8 percent.

“Things do appear to be getting a bit better here in Massachusetts,” Baker said. “Today there are some glimmers of hope that some public health trends show some retreat.”

The orders, enacted in November, included a stay-at-home advisory from 10 pm to 5 am with gyms, movie theaters, and other businesses forced to close at 9:30 pm, while liquor stores and restaurants had to stop selling alcohol at and stop table service at 9:30 pm. The orders will be lifted at 5 am on January 25.

While those orders are lifted, Baker is keeping in place the order to limit capacity to 25 percent for at least another two weeks.

Baker said the rise in cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rates after the end of the year holidays was not as severe as rises seen post-Thanksgiving.

“As hospitals continue to stabilize after the holidays and the average positive case rate declines, we hope to see those trends continue moving forward. And if they do, we’ll be back to talk about lifting some of the restrictions that are currently in place as soon as it makes sense to do so,” he said.

The Island boards of health reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, for a total of 66 cases since Friday.

Of the new cases, 10 were reported from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and one from TestMV.

As of Thursday afternoon, the hospital has conducted 11,725 tests for COVID-19 since March. Of those, 536 have tested positive, 11,156 negative, and 33 are pending results.

There are currently two patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The hospital reported that one of the two patients reported hospitalized on Wednesday was discharged on Friday. Another patient was admitted on Saturday. Both patients are in “good condition,” according to communications specialist Marissa Lefebvre.

On Jan. 12, the hospital sent a patient in “serious condition” off-Island by MedFlight. There have been four total COVID-19-related transfers since the pandemic began.

In an expanded report last Friday, the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health reported that there were 91 active cases of COVID-19 on the Island. Each of those active cases was an individual who tested positive between Jan. 3 and 15.

The Martha’s Vineyard public schools have tested 1,265 individuals. The boards of health reported the school’s first positive result on Tuesday.

As of Thursday, TestMV has conducted 30,829 tests since June. Of those, 229 have tested positive, 29,506 negative, and 1,094 are pending results.

There was one new probable positive reported Thursday, for a total of 50 since March.

The town of Aquinnah has conducted 405 tests, of which one has come back positive, 404 negative.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) reported two new cases Friday, for a total of four since testing began for the tribe.

Due to how tests are conducted, there can be a discrepancy between the number of positive individuals and the number of positive tests reported.

According to Tisbury health agent and boards of health spokesperson Maura Valley, getting an immediate repeat test is not recommended, but she said it can be done at the discretion of a healthcare provider. Per Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines, if an individual tests positive for COVID-19 they should quarantine and take precautions.

Since March, there have been 772 cases of COVID-19 reported on Martha’s Vineyard. Of those, 384 are male and 388 are female, with the majority of the cases being in individuals between 20 and 39. Only 31 cases have been reported in individuals over 70 years old.

The vast majority of those cases were reported in the past two months, when the Island’s first cluster of cases was linked to a wedding in October. Since then, the Island has seen 683 cases of COVID-19 — more than seven times the 89 cases reported on the Island between when testing began in March and Oct. 25.

In addition to the wedding cluster, which reported eight cases, clusters at Cronig’s Market, with 19 cases, and a Bible study group, with 11 cases, have also been reported.

On Thursday, the state reported 4,281 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The state’s seven-day average of percent positivity has dropped to 5.57 percent, after several weeks of being above 8 percent. There are an estimated 88,929 active cases statewide. There were 75 new deaths, for a total of 13,622 COVID-19 deaths since March.


Updated to include new COVID data. — Ed.


  1. Ok, let me get this straight – the limits on dining in restaurants and congregating in large groups have lowered the Covid cases by 5.57% from 8%, so now you are going to end these safety measures? in other words, let’s STOP the practices that are working for our collective safety? Usually if something works, we keep doing it.

      • Shawn– I agree with you. It’s a bad idea.
        However , there are people out there who are are really tired of the so called “lockdowns” and want the economy to re open as quickly as possible. I assume some of them are good people, and some of them even have some valid points. It’s a difficult balancing act. As we move away from an administration that has based it’s policies on lies and divisiveness, we need to respect their opinions. I’m not saying we have to cater to the willfully ignorant, but we do have to compromise.

  2. It is because Biden is President. Look for the news to be better. Friday he said ”there is nothing we can do” after telling us for months he would fix it when President.

    • President Biden said, “There is nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the COVID pandemic over the next several months”. That makes Mr Engelman’s statement purposely misleading and false, just as he falsely claimed last week that in his state, Florida, essential workers went first for the vaccine, before the elderly who were sheltered safely at home.
      Experts were warning us for months that if people did not wear masks and stop gathering and traveling, we’d have the bleak, death-filled winter we are having. President Biden has not lied to us. Trump and his followers do, at every chance they get.

      This newspaper claimed they would not publish comments that spread false information about covid, and yet they continue in Mr Engelman’s comments. Cheap political potshots that are essentially lies are not opinions. They are part of the untrustworthy and untruthful Republican agenda that will do and say anything to hold on to the power and control they lost in a proven fair election.

      • Ms Diez, Florida defines essential workers as those on the front lines like Doctors and nurses and hospital workers. They did go first and now elderly are going first particularly elderly with underlying conditions. A thirty year old tattoo parlor worker is not essential. I live here part time so I know and I see it every day. As for Bidens comment ”there is nothing we can do to alter the trajectory for three months”—it is simillar to Carters statment of ”malaise” in the country which gave no hope and only pessimism. Do you really believe nothing can be done for three months to alter? Most of us do not.

    • Andrew– As Jackie points out, your quote from Biden is deliberately misleading. Shame on you—
      But if you want to look at other misleading quotes about the pandemic, we can go to July 22 when trump said ” a plane goes down- 500 people dead they don’t talk about it– covid covid covid”
      Of course “they don’t talk about it” — it never happened– 299 people died in commercial aircraft worldwide in 2020– believe me, “they” talked about it when the Iranian military shot down an Iranian commercial flight with 176 people on board.
      He went on to say, “by the way, on nov 4 you won’t hear about it (covid) anymore”
      And how about “lyin Ted” as trump called him? Also on July 22 , he said ” I guarantee, you a week after the election all those democratic governors…will say it’s suddenly magickly better”

      I would be worried if Biden said “it will all miraculously disappear”

      The era of lies is over– read the memo.

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