Updated 5:40 pm
Gov. Charlie Baker announced that phase two of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout will begin on Feb. 1 with individuals 75 years or older eligible to receive the first of two shots.
Speaking at a press conference Monday, Baker said people 75 and older will be able to make appointments by Wednesday.
In an email to The Times, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital communications specialist Marissa Lefevbre confirmed that the hospital was officially designated as a general vaccination site by the Department of Public Health. When asked about vaccines, Lefevbre wrote the hospital is “coordinating directly with MVH staff and first responders.”
The state’s vaccine page labels Martha’s Vineyard Hospital as a general vaccination site and says eligible populations will see instructions on the hospital website to access vaccine appointments. It says the hospital will be open for vaccines on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The hospital updated its vaccine FAQ page on Monday with a link for eligible individuals to fill out an attestation form through the state. That form is not yet available, but will likely go live on Wednesday based on the governor’s announcement. Once filled out individuals will receive an email from DPH confirming eligibility. The hospital is asking individuals to forward that email to them at firstname.lastname@example.org and an appointment will be sent via email.
The site recommends that hospital and Mass General Brigham patients create or update their Patient Gateway accounts as a primary mode of communication. No information is provided for vaccine-eligible individuals who are not hospital patients.
The state’s phasing plan protects the state’s hospitals and most vulnerable residents. All healthcare workers, first responders, long term care residents and staff, and congregate care facilities are currently eligible to receive a vaccine.
On Monday, state officials stressed how dependent Massachusetts is on the federal government for vaccine supplies.
“We can only move as fast as the federal government shifts vaccines to the commonwealth,” Baker said “Our goal remains the same — to provide our healthcare system with the support that they need to protect our most vulnerable residents and to ensure an equitable distribution of the vaccine to all residents.”
Following people 75 and older, in order of eligibility, phase two will include people 65 and older, people with two or more comorbidities listed as increased risk for severe illness, other workers in early education, K-12, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, restaurant and cafe, funeral services, and shipping port and terminal workers. Individuals with one co-morbid condition will close out phase two. Phase three is expected to begin in April and will include the general public.
As of Saturday 448,892 doses have been administered in phase one. Baker said that by the end of this week there will be 103 publicly available vaccine sites in Massachusetts.
Baker added that the state continues to see lower trends in hospitalizations, percent positivity, and confirmed cases.
Last week, Baker lifted the state’s stay-at-home advisory and an order requiring many businesses to close by 9:30 pm. The lifted restrictions went into effect Monday.
Meanwhile, the Island boards of health reported seven new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend — five from Saturday, and two from Monday.
As of Monday afternoon, the hospital has conducted 11,948 tests for COVID-19 since March. Of those, 548 have tested positive, 11,333 negative, and two are pending results.
As of Friday, TestMV has conducted 31,033 tests since June. Of those, 233 have tested positive, 29,867 negative, and 933 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, 380 negative and 24 pending results.
The Martha’s Vineyard public schools have tested 2,000 individuals. As of Monday there have been three positive cases.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) reported two new cases Jan. 15, 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.
In an expanded report Friday, the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health reported that there were 62 active cases of COVID-19 on the Island. Two active cases tested positive between Jan. 3 and Jan. 9, the rest tested positive between Jan. 17 and Jan. 22.
Of the positive cases, 310 or 40 percent are connected to at least one other case. Most connections are within family/household groups, according to the boards of health. There have been 47 instances of two-person groups testing positive for COVID-19.
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.
Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Tisbury are all in the “red” or highest risk category, according to the state Department of Public Health.
According to state data, There have been 59 positive cases of COVID-19 in Edgartown in the last two weeks and the town’s positivity rate is 8.28 percent. Oak Bluffs reported 34 cases in the last two weeks and has a 6.69 percent positivity rate. Tisbury reported 49 cases in the last two weeks with a 5.66 percent positivity rate.
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 789 cases of COVID-19 reported on Martha’s Vineyard. Of those, 392 are female and 390 are male, 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 693 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.