Tisbury remains the only town out of 351 cities and towns in the commonwealth in the Department of Public Health’s “red” or highest risk category for COVID-19 transmission.
In the last two weeks Tisbury has had 30 new cases with a 6.86 percent positivity rate. With Tisbury’s population just over 4,000, the number of cases needed to designate it as highest risk is 25. The state’s seven-day average of percent positivity is 0.8 percent.
Towns with less than 10,000 residents are considered the highest risk for COVID-19 transmission if they have had more than 25 cases.
“That is very true,” Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said about Tisbury being the only red community in the state. She also said those numbers are “concerning” for the Island boards of health. However she anticipated the numbers will subside by next week. She also said she expects the vaccination bus back next week but didn’t give any precise times.
Earlier this week at a board of health meeting, Valley hinted that the town would be in the state’s “red” category. At that meeting, the health board voted to require masks in town buildings through Labor Day and at the upcoming town meeting.
Nineteen other towns are in the state’s yellow category — communities with elevated, but more moderate risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Oak Bluffs and Edgartown are two of those towns in the yellow. Edgartown only recently made the switch to the yellow category from red, but only by the skin of its teeth. In thee last two weeks, Edgartown reported 24 new cases of COVID-19 — two cases away from the highest risk designation. Oak Bluffs has reported 20 cases in the past two weeks.
West Tisbury reported eight cases in the past two weeks. Aquinnah and Chilmark each reported zero. All up-Island towns are in the grey designation.
There have been 18 new confirmed cases on the Island in the past five days — four on Sunday, one on Monday, five on Tuesday, six on Wednesday, and two on Thursday.
At the state level Thursday, Massachusetts reported there were 215 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the state’s total since testing began in March 2020 to 660,513. There were also nine new deaths Thursday for a total of 17,491.