COVID cases on the rise

Nantucket issues indoor mask mandate.

Martha's Vineyard has a mask advisory, but has not talked about issuing a mandatory mask order despite Nantucket's move in that direction. -Rich Saltzberg

Updated 3:35 pm 

COVID cases are on the rise with 29 cases reported in the past six days, but Island health officials are not ready to issue any mask mandate.

The Martha’s Vineyard boards of health have reported 3 cases on Sunday, 8 on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday, 7 on Thursday, and five on Friday — surpassing last week’s 24 total new cases.

Boards of health spokesperson and Tisbury health agent Maura Valley told The Times that while the Island’s confirmed case numbers are up and while there is an indoor mask advisory in place, the boards of health have not talked about a mask mandate.

“We are keeping an eye on what’s going on on the Island. Our numbers are not approaching what Nantucket’s numbers are, hopefully they won’t,” Valley said. “At this point we haven’t talked about a mask mandate.”

On Nantucket, the neighboring island has issued a new indoor mask mandate following an emergency Nantucket board of health meeting Thursday.

The order, which went into effect immediately, was issued amid a “significant increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due primarily to the Delta variant of the coronavirus,” according to the town’s website.

Customers and staff at many venues including businesses, clubs, assembly places, restaurants, bars, event venues, places of worship, and town buildings must wear cloth face coverings. Face coverings at restaurants and bars can be removed once customers are seated. 

Nantucket reported 23 new cases Tuesday. Their seven-day average of cases is at 8.8 percent

The Nantucket mandate includes recommendations for all people not residing in the same household to maintain a distance of six feet when possible. All non-vaccinated individuals are recommended to wear a mask in all public places both indoors and outdoors.

Valley said Nantucket’s rise in cases was due to transmission at indoor social events. 


Updated with Friday’s COVID cases. — Ed.


  1. No mask mandate? That’s stupid. By not requiring masks, businesses will suffer. There are many more people who want to protect themselves and others from delta than covidiots. I’m not stepping foot in any business where masks are not 100% required during this uptick, and neither are many, many others. Island boards of health must be waiting for hospitalizations and deaths before they do what is necessary to protect us.

    Meanwhile on Facebook, I see there are Trump supporters whose heads are exploding because some businesses are asking everyone to put their masks on to enter. One loud mouth, anti-vaxer, Trump supporter is so incensed over Cronigs mask requirement that she is pushing everyone to get food delivery from off-island. I don’t know why she just doesn’t go to Stop and Shop, lol.

    After complaining about Cronig’s prices for years, I have a new respect for a business that cares more about the health and safety of their employees and customers than they do about making money from ignorant, selfish people who insist they’re smarter than the experts who’ve devoted their lives to protecting us. Thank you, Cronig’s. I hope all businesses follow suit. I hope there soon is also a vaccine passport for restaurants, theaters, gyms, and large public gatherings. This will be good for business, too, since many people will stay away while cases are still rising.

    • I’ve read so many of your comments on here. So real quick, vaccinated or not right you still get COVID. Sure if have vaccine it’s “not as bad”. In the end if an unvaccinated person were to end up “more sick” how is that your problem? Also name one variant that came out out of the United States, I’ll wait. Just think if everyone in United States was vaccinated, the delta variant that came from where? Oh right India. It would still be here spreading amongst the vaccinated people.

      • Max, there are still unvaccinated people who are not able to get the vaccine for medical reasons. Children are also vulnerable. That’s why it matters. We don’t want high-risk people to get sick or die unnecessarily. While I’m not aiming to insult you, it’s hard to believe anyone could be unaware of these answers by now.

  2. The writing is on the wall. It is a well established fact that the sooner we act (mask mandate), the more quickly we will contain this variant. Why are we waiting for things to get worse?

  3. We will not contain the variant(s) with masking.

    Science shows us that as long as the virus has a host (and it has millions) it will continue to mutate- alpha, delta and more to come (sorry). Covid is now endemic, it lives among us permanently (90% of scientists, virologists polled stated this).

    But there is good news.

    Fact- those who are vaccinated represent .004% of those with severe disease and death. We now have enough data to show that vaccinations and cases are correlated. This is science and now math.

    Fact- MA is one of the highest vaccinated states in the nation. We have a moat of protection and one we should be proud and protective of.

    However, many states are not sequencing for the delta variant so we don’t have good data on who is carrying it, meaning we can assume delta is much more pervasive than the current reporting.

    We must get the nation vaccinated to levels seen in MA (and on MV). We have visitors from states that don’t have our good numbers.

    Masking will largely protect the unvaccinated and those who are most vulnerable. That is good public health policy not to mention humane.

    As a public health doc, I will continue wear a mask in crowded indoor settings. I don’t know who is vaccinated and who is not. And I don’t want to asymptomatically give an immunocompromised (cancer) patient a variant that makes their life harder than it is.

    Finally, a small outdoor party of vaccinated individuals who are tested, tracked and traced is on the side of science. The “public health bouncer” is a new and potent field. I applaud anyone who alters their big event when new data comes in. Give them credit.

    In good health–

  4. Meg,

    You are aware that there are currently ~200K human beings on Martha’s Vineyard from all over the world, yes? The fact is that we have absolutely NO idea who is already infected with the Covid19 Delta variant — rapidly surging throughout the USA, after the UK and India — or who is or is not vaccinated against it is BECAUSE WE DO NOT REQUIRE ANY VERIFICATION!! The absolute least we can ALL do to protect our small, rural, Island community — with only 3 ventilators — is to enact a MASK MANDATE IMMEDIATELY. This life protecting need couldn’t be more self-evident. Tick. Tock.

    • So how many people currently have covid? Out of 200,000? What’s that as a percentage? Sounds pretty low.

      • Max— may I remind you of the debate on this forum in March of 2020 ?
        There was one person here who was absolutely certain that the U.S would never get even close to 1,000 deaths from this.
        Why worry over a few cases of a “little flu” the anti science people said–
        It’s such a small percentage, they said.
        Our president assured us that all the 15 cases we had would just go away.
        All the while the scientific and medical experts were warning us about the seriousness of it.
        One would think we would learn from history.
        We just have to look at the southern states with low vaxx rates and high death rates to see which side of this argument is wrong.
        On August 7 the 7 day moving average for covid deaths in Ma. was 1
        On August 7 the 7 day moving average for covid deaths in Fl. was 88
        Yes , one could make it sound like Fl was not so bad because they have a larger population. 3 X in fact–
        I wonder why the numbers are so different ?
        By the way,
        The unemployment rate in June 2021 in Ma was 4.9 %
        The unemployment rate in June 2021 in Fl was 5.7 %

  5. Well said Jesse! And Meg, you said it yourself…you don’t know who is or is not vaccinated or who is immunosuppressed.

  6. It is moronic to believe that this virus isn’t going to spread to the same percentages as Nantucket. The idea that local health agents somehow should be in anyway instrumental in determining who wears masks where/where not is just as moronic. The state needs to regulate where we stand in regard to this ongoing pandemic, and the state needs to take a much stronger stance going forward. The pandemic isn’t going anywhere, it is here to stay and will only get stronger if we do not accept our new way of life.
    One thing is guaranteed, if people keep gathering and partying this disease will continue to spread and will find a way to survive.

  7. I watch what the political ruling elites do. I observe that most Democrats never mask when they think they are not being observed. John Kerry on a plane. The Obamas huge bash.
    Newson’s kid at an elitist camp where no children were masked. Elites laughing and talking unmasked in restaurants while forcing us plebes to stay home.

    I’ve observed you all. Everyone I know has, too. And we know you are liars. We know what you are doing and you won’t get away with it.

    • The ones who “won’t get away with it” are the unvaxed who get a bad case of covid.

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