Following weeks of decline, Island sees COVID spike

King’s Barbershop cluster increases to seven cases.

After leveling off, the Island is seeing a sudden spike in COVID-19 positive results.

After weeks of decline, the Island is now seeing a surge of confirmed COVID-19 cases with 47 cases reported by the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health between March 21 and March 27.

The 47 confirmed cases include 36 from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, seven from TestMV, one from the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), one from the Martha’s Vineyard Public School Testing, and two from off-Island providers.

Of the 47 new cases, 32 were symptomatic, nine had no symptoms and the status of six was unknown. None of the individuals is hospitalized, according to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital website.

Between March 1 and March 19, the boards of health reported 25 new cases. 

A group of positive cases linked to King’s Barbershop has grown to seven and is now being considered a cluster by the boards of health.

The Island has had five other clusters, including an October wedding (8 cases), Cronig’s Market (19 cases), a Bible study group (11 cases), MV Hospital (5 cases), and Project Headway (4 cases).

Shirley’s Hardware in Vineyard Haven is closed down for two weeks after two of the store’s employees tested positive for COVID-19, according to the store’s Facebook page.

“We are sorry to report that two of our employees have tested positive for COVID. We have decided to close immediately,” the Shirley’s post reads. “We want to make sure it is safe for [customers] before we reopen. The 14-day quarantine period allows us to open Friday, April 9th. Fingers crossed!”

In total, there have been 1,055 confirmed positive results on the Island since testing began in March — 500 females and 496 males. There have also been 59 probable cases — 33 male and 26 female. There have been 377 cases — 38 percent of the total — that have been linked to at least one other case. In most instances those involved family members or small social groups.

Martha’s Vineyard reported its highest number of cases in January with 302 cases of which 195 were symptomatic.

Meanwhile, as of Saturday, the hospital has administered more than 11,000 total vaccine doses — 6,715 first doses and 4,578 second doses.

The hospital has now administered 15,170 tests, with 714 positive results. There have been 14,429 negative tests and there are 19 results pending. 

TestMV, which is located in the parking lot at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, has now administered 35,428 tests, with 267 positive results, 34,840 negative results, and 321 tests pending.

The town of Aquinnah has conducted 444 tests, of which one has come back positive, 441 negative, and two pending results.

The Martha’s Vineyard public schools have administered 8,674 tests. Of those, five have tested positive.

The Tribe has reported a total of eight positive cases of COVID-19.

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

At the state level Sunday, there were 1,817 new confirmed cases with an estimated 30,772 active cases. The state’s seven day average of percent positivity rate is 2.2.8 percent. There were 29 new COVID-realted deaths Saturday for a total of 16,775 since March.


  1. This surge is most likely due to close contacts of positive cases continuing to go to work and spread this disease across the island, with a combination of employees providing false samples when being tested by their jobs.

  2. Now it seems throughout the world that the virus is affecting younger people who thought they were more immune to the virus. They are more lax in their activities and it’s starting to take its toll. 6 out of 10 patients hospitalized and even with non hospitalization still have after effects months later. So much is still unknown.

  3. The surge is due to people growing lax in their safety precautions and to the more contagious variants that are taking over in much of the country, including Massachusetts. Covid does not stand outside your house and jump on you when you open the door. You have to go somewhere to be exposed to an infected someone who is unknowingly spreading it. The warring factions among us in our same-side-combatants-against-covid also do damage and make numbers surge, adding to our woes. Although we logically ARE on the same side, few are in practice on the same side fighting this common enemy. The business community wants to lull you into thinking their places of business are safe and that no one has ever gotten sick from their store/restaurant/gym/theater/work site, even though our community spread makes it impossible to know any such thing, unless there is a cluster reported in the papers. The loud community faction of selfish, irresponsible fools claim they should not have to wear face diapers, and hey, it’s party time. The religious cultists who believe Trump was the Chosen One claim there is some unspecific “they” who WANT more cases. The cowardly among us who brag of dining in restaurants every day accuse others of living in fear, while they are too scared to get a vaccine because it might give them a boo-boo in 10 years. The conspiracy theorists among us, well, they’re all over the place as they wait for an alien space ship to pick them up and get them the hell outta here. The people among us who’ve done everything right for themselves and everyone around them for the last year, will continue to get their vaccines, wear their mask, keep social distancing, get takeout only, and shake their head in frustration at those among us who refuse to be responsible for whatever selfish, insane, or just plain stupid reason they can concoct.

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