Island Delta variant cases grow 

Vineyard neighbors implement mask advisories.

Some businesses still have signs like this up, even though Vineyard health officials aren't ready to go back to ordering or advising masks indoors. -George Brennan

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital confirmed that two additional COVID samples sent to the state epidemiologist from vaccinated individuals came back positive for the Delta variant.

In an email to The Times, hospital communications specialist Marissa Lefevbre confirmed the two additional cases, bringing the Island’s total number of Delta variant cases to four.

All four samples came from individuals who were fully vaccinated and all showed mild symptoms.The four individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between the end of June and mid-July, according to Lefevbre.

News of the additional cases came a day after the hospital first confirmed the presence of the Delta variant.

With a rise in cases on the Cape and Nantucket, the Vineyard’s neighbors are implementing new mask advisories. But Vineyard health officials, while monitoring the situation here, are not yet ready to issue a similar advisory.

Nantucket is advising its residents and visitors to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status when physical distancing is not possible. Provincetown in particular has seen 132 cases between July 1 and 16, the “vast majority” being reported in vaccinated individuals. According to a Provincetown public health advisory, the town is urging its residents and visitors to wear masks indoors despite vaccination status, when they can’t social-distance, and “high-density businesses” require proof of vaccination before allowing people to enter.

“The increased virulence of the Delta variant, and its high ability to infect even those vaccinated in some cases, means that masking and distancing are strongly recommended at this time. 

Prolonged exposure, indoors and at high concentrations, is likely the cause of vaccinated individuals becoming infected,” a July 21 statement from Nantucket’s website reads. “The delta variant has also shown breakthrough ability against natural immunity and can reinfect those who have already had COVID. Please keep your safety, and the safety of those around you, in mind.”

Tisbury health agent Maura Valley told The Times in a phone call that Island health agents are encouraging businesses to encourage their customers to wear masks indoors if they are uncomfortable, but have stopped short of an official mask requirement or advisory at this time.

“Our numbers are up a little bit,” Valley said, adding health agents are monitoring the situation closely.

With news of the Delta variant on Martha’s Vineyard, Valley said health agents are also working with the hospital to determine who should be tested for variants.

“I’m not surprised it’s here since so many people from so many places are on the Island,” Valley said. “Hopefully letting people know the variant is here, that it’s more infectious, will make them more aware.”

Officials from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital reported two cases of the Delta variant during a Wednesday conference call.

Vaccine appointments quickly filled up over the next two weeks, according to Lefevbre. Additional appointments will be available Thursday, July 29, from 11:30 to 4:30 pm.

Meanwhile, the boards of health have reported six new cases of COVID-19 so far this week. Last week the Island showed a rise in new cases with 16 confirmed cases.


    • Actually, we checked with Johnson and no advisory was issued. He told us he’s been visiting businesses and informally telling them about the presence of the Delta variant so the businesses can require masks if they see fit.

      • I appreciate the clarification and that this paper’s public forum provided transparency on this issue. It’s good for public policy to be clear to all and not have different sets of regulations for different groups. Thank you Mr. Brennan.

      • George– thank you for clarifying that . There is often a grain of truth in all misinformation.

  1. Does anyone see the irony that those who railed against wearing a mask are the same ones that refuse to get vaccinated so we are going to have to go back to wearing masks again because of their decisions ?
    Sorry, dummies, this isn’t a hoax.
    If we have to lock down again, it will be for one reason, and one reason only– irresponsible unvaccinated people will be infecting not only themselves, but the people who are vaccinated.
    It is the responsibility of health officials to everyone– even the willfully ignorant, the stupid, the brainwashed the selfish, the irresponsible and the losers. If you are able to receive it and refuse to get vaccinated, you fall into all those categories.Sorry, thats the truth
    The virus evolves– variants are not a hoax.
    It’s after Nov 3 rd. trump was the loser in that election and is out of office.
    Why are there now more cases than there have been since early May ?
    Death rates follow case rates.

  2. True, Don. The unvaccinated who railed against wearing the masks all along are the same ones who are not wearing them indoors in public now, even though they are the ones who are asked by every business to please continue wearing them. There’s no way to know who isn’t vaccinated, so selfish, irresponsible, and ignorant unvaxed are also liars, blending in and pretending to be vaccinated, with no confrontations. The “I’m not responsible for you” attitude is criminal, in my view, because it is morally indefensible.

    Interesting that that the West Tis BOH agent can issue a mask advisory now but the board failed so dreadfully in requiring all staff of Howes House to be vaccinated.

    It’s anecdotal so far, but elderly vaccinated seem more prone to breakthrough cases, possibly because their immune systems don’t work as well as a younger person.

    • Those who are refusing to wear masks, though, are forcing others to bear the high physical, financial, and emotional costs of their irresponsibility. There is solid scientific proof that proper mask-wearing and hand-washing reduces risk of contracting not only COVID-19 but also other illnesses.

      It comes down to two issues: responsibility and logic. Logic says, “I should protect myself and my loved ones by wearing a mask and washing my hands–and by being vaccinated.” Responsibility says, “I’m a human and potentially vulnerable, and don’t want to have others at risk during a pandemic… because if I have it and don’t know it, I could spread it to others.”

      Even if a person doesn’t feel responsibility toward others, the logical approach should be enough to encourage mask-wearing and common decency. Unfortunately, it’s apparently not enough.

  3. Not stupid, not a dummy, well educated!!!!! Been disabled for almost 15 years an still know real diagnosis, Being in chronic pain for all 15 years I would never blame anyone for saying NO. Dr are only human they don’t have all the answers. An with man made drug’s☹️ the after Effects can be life changing an for some deadly. We have the right to say NO!!! The vaccines are not a cure. Helps to stop the spread most of the time .not alone the time. Thank you Jesus. We all have rights it’s AMERICA…

    • Valerie, I’m really sorry you’re in chronic pain. ❤️ There is almost always a degree of risk with any drug or treatment. Though the vaccine is not a perfect cure, it is the best tool we have to save lives.

      Taking your personal health into account doesn’t make you stupid. I understand that introducing a new medication or vaccine is scary when health is already less than optimal. The virus carries a greater list of negatives for the vast majority, though. Unless someone’s doctor has advised against the vaccine for specific reasons, the benefits are outweighing the risks in studies. It’s been said that because the vaccine is fairly new, the public is being used as guinea pigs. I get it, but the catch is that this aggressive variant is also new. It will use people without any testing or concern for safety data whatsoever. It is less predictable than a vaccine produced with time-tested methods. I wish that were given more consideration. Viruses are never on our side, and the faster we get this under control, the safer everyone will be.

    • Valerie– you will notice in my comment that I say “If you are able to receive it and refuse…”
      I am on record here noting that not everyone can get this for various reasons.
      You are likely a case in point. If for medical reasons you can not get the jab, you are the very reason that healthy people should be required to get it. They are a danger to you and anyone who in immunocompromised or for whatever reason cant be vaccinated.
      I will double down here– healthy people who refuse to get the jab are not only stupid and selfish, they are currently public enemy # 1 .
      There is currently no greater threat to the well being of the citizens of this country than unvaccinated morons.
      I don’t care how “well educated” they are–
      As for our rights, there is this little quote from the declaration of independence;
      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
      If some idiot refuses , gets sick, and sneezes on my immunocompromised mother who cannot get the jab and she dies, who are we to blame ?
      To me it’s about the same as a deranged racist who randomly knocks out old Asian people on the street and kicks them. If that makes the racist happy, why should we tell them they can’t do it ?
      It’s their fist after all. Would you say they can do what they want with their hands and feet regardless of the consequence to someone else ?

    • No one claims the vaccine is a cure. That is not how any vaccine works. It is a preventative measure. A cure is not the same thing at all.

      • The unvaccinated dying who beg for the vaccine as they’re about to be intubated think it’s a cure. They also think Trump won in 2020– and they used to think covid was “just a flu”.

    • We cannot have herd immunity without widespread adoption of the vaccine. And without herd immunity we cannot protect ourselves, our elderly relatives, our ill, or our children. Preposterous and unfair, yet true. Our collective safety and protection from this disease relies on the assent of crazed religious fanatics and conspiracy theorists.

      Is it possible that our individualist culture is incompatible with successful resolution strategies for covid? If the disease were bad enough that people were dying in the streets, I believe we would mandate vaccination. In Milan, during the black plague, they bricked the ill up in their houses and were spared the worst of it. But covid is not the Black Death. It kills marginal populations who die mostly unseen in nursing homes, hospitals, and in less well to do neighborhoods. In America, the less fortunate dying is just the Cost Of Doing Business.

    • So sorry to hear that you are disabled, it makes you more likely to have a severe reaction to Covid.
      The effects of Covid can be life changing and for some deadly.
      Vaccines have essentially cured Small Pox, the Spanish Flu, Polio and so many others.
      You have the right to say no, you do not have the right to expel the Covid virus into the air.

      Have you given due consideration to the joys of of intubation?
      Remember that as an American you have the right to refuse intubation.
      The medical staff has no right to refuse you intubation.
      They do have the right to snicker at your decision.

  4. I totally agree that healthy people who refuse to get the vaccine are ignorant, brainwashed, totally irresponsible and self.centered. Their refusal to get the vaccine and allow Covid and it’s present and future variants to circulate and thrive threatens all of us who did the right thing for our own survival as well as the survival of our friends, family, acquaintances and strangers. Their ridiculous non-action prevents herd immunity and the stamping out of this horrific virus.
    Also….we were desperate to get the vaccine (and soon as we were permitted to) before my husband with cancer began his immunotherapy treatment and became immunocompromised. Now with the Delta variant flourishing we may need a 3rd booster shot to combat it but unfortunately my husband won’t be able to get it now.
    In a very real way their reluctance could lead to the death of my husband snd countless others.

  5. I wonder if the island will have an up-tick in positive cases seven to ten days after Beach Road Fest in Vineyard Haven, brought to us by our own selectmen who are always looking out for the public good over their bank accounts, one would hope.

    • From the article: “‘Prolonged exposure, indoors and at high concentrations, is likely the cause of vaccinated individuals becoming infected,’ a July 21 statement from Nantucket’s website reads.”

      The Beach Road Festival in Vineyard Haven was outdoors, with plenty of room for social distancing.

  6. I was in Cronig’s today– every single person in the store had a mask on.
    There is only one reason for that– The rising rate of covid cases that the unvaccinated bear 100 % responsibility for.
    It’s no longer China’s fault ( if it ever was) it’s trump’s and fox news and right wing talk show host.

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