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.