87 new COVID cases

Health officials take note; schedule meetings to consider indoor mask mandates. 



COVID-19 cases crescendoed last week with 87 new cases reported by the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health — 39 more cases than the previous week.

Of the 87 new cases, 72 were reported at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, seven at TestMV, six at the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), and two at other providers. There are 74 cases still being monitored by public health officials, six that have recovered, and seven lost to follow up from health officials.

There were 43 symptomatic cases, five asymptomatic, and 39 unknown. Of last week’s cases 42 were fully vaccinated, 20 unvaccinated, and 25 unknown.

Later in the day on Monday, Tisbury health agent Maura Valley released the results for Sunday and Monday. There were 16 new cases reported — 11 on Monday and five on Sunday. All but 5 of the cases were reported by Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Hospital officials have confirmed that the Delta variant is present on the Island. Only 4 cases have been confirmed out of six samples tested for the variant.

This is the third week in a row that cases have nearly doubled from the previous week. Last week’s 87 cases are the third highest weekly total reported this year, behind 101 cases in late March and 99 cases in early January.

The majority of new cases are from younger individuals. There were 26 in their 20s and 19 in their 30s.

Island health officials are taking note of the rise in cases. The West Tisbury board of health approved an indoor mask mandate in all public places. The board also voted on a mandate for town employees to get vaccinated. That mandate ultimately is up to individual appointing authorities to decide whether to move forward with the mandate.

The Oak Bluffs board of health called an emergency meeting for Tuesday at 11 am to consider an indoor mask mandate for town buildings.

The Chilmark board of health is meeting at 5 pm Wednesday to discuss an indoor mask mandate.

In response to inquiries about hospitalizations and other information, hospital chief nurse and COO Claire Seguin told The Times the hospital is planning a press briefing in the coming days.

The Ritz Cafe closed its doors temporarily this weekend after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The Instagram and Facebook post says the popular Oak Bluffs nightspot plans to remain closed through Monday.

“One of our team members has tested positive, and out of an abundance of caution we are testing all staff. Health and safety of our staff and customers alike are of the utmost importance to us,” the post reads in part.

A week earlier, several restaurants in Edgartown closed because of COVID cases.

Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters during an unrelated briefing Monday that he has no plans to change the state’s mask guidance, according to the Boston Globe.

“I’m not considering changing the mask guidance … at this time,” Baker said, according to reports. ” … The fact that so many people in Massachusetts have been vaccinated, and that is real tribute to the enthusiasm that the people of this commonwealth showed to getting vaccinated, has put us in a dramatically different place than many other states across this country.”

The Island has reported 12 COVID clusters since the pandemic began. Three new clusters were reported last week — Alchemy (15 cases all staff), Port Hunter (four cases, one probable), and Harbor View Hotel (six confirmed, four probable). Alchemy’s cluster grew by one case and Harbor View’s grew by four.

Past clusters include an October wedding (eight cases), Cronig’s Market (19 cases), a Bible study group (11 cases), M.V. Hospital (five cases), Project Headway (four cases), King’s barbershop (eight cases), Shirley’s Hardware (all six staff), the Barn Bowl & Bistro (nine cases), and Cardboard Box (three).

A cluster is defined as more than two people from different families or households with a shared source of infection. 

TestMV and the hospital have seen an increase in demand for COVID testing over the last week.

The hospital has administered 33,000 vaccine doses — 19,827 first doses and 13,927 second doses as of August 9.

As of August 13, the hospital has administered a total of 23,846 COVID tests. Of those, 2,017 are positives and 21,821 are negatives. 

The TestMV site has administered a total of 40,589 COVID tests. Of those, 405 are positives, and 40,184 are negatives. 

The town of Aquinnah has administered 556 tests, with three positive results.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has reported a total of 22 positive cases of COVID-19.

There were 18 positive tests reported at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, from a total of 16,122 tested. 

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

Updated to include Sunday and Monday’s numbers.


  1. Is anyone asking of those testing positive whether or not they were connected in any way with “the” birthday party?
    Asking for a friend

    • A—I would think that by now, all those jet setter elites have returned to their countries of origin. Since all the Obama haters here told us all about how they came from all over the world in their private jets, we can pretty safely assume that that none of them were here 3 days after ” the” party . As for the staff– I’m pretty sure that the Vineyard tramples all over everyone’s constitutional rights and actually does ask that question— that’s how they figure out what a “cluster” is. Note that the Ritz is closed due to covid.. I wonder if anyone is asking whether or not any of these cases were at the Ritz recently.
      I am asking you directly..

      Don’t you have a “please love me ” trump rally to attend ?

      • Jim– Your comment is, for me, ambiguous as to it’s intent. —
        Are you saying that A Morgan’s comment was predictable because of some political hatred , or are you expecting that some of these cases were actually associated with a party in which every person was tested and vaccinated ( or at least had an antibody test) ?
        Sorry– I am not sure how to read your comment..
        I for one think “A’s ” comment is predictable, and sad.
        Keep in mind, that every night on this island , there are hundreds of people who pack into bars a**es to elbows , as someone here said, who are not tested, do not need to show proof of vaccination, and spend unmasked hours basically doing calisthenics and breathing into each others faces from inches away,,, And then some percentage of them go home and have intimate relations.
        I don’t think “A” is very concerned about that..
        But the word “hypocrite “sure has come up often concerning this party.
        Are there no mirrors on this island?

        • I know who A is. Their views are quite familiar to me and usually based on some irrational thinking.
          TBH, asking me if I think that “some of these cases were actually associated with a party in which every person was tested and vaccinated” is rather insulting.

          • Jim– Sorry if I insulted you. Not my intent–
            Just asking the question, since some people here actually think that.
            As I said, i found your comment somewhat ambiguous–
            Thanks for clarifying..

  2. What does it mean when the vaccination status is “unknown”? Is it that the person being tested declines to answer if they are vaccinated? If that is the case, then it is safe to assume the unknowns are actually unvaxed. Vaxed people are proud to tell you they are vaxed. And they know whether or not they had the shot. “Unknown” may mean something else entirely, so that’s why I’m asking.

    As to any worry over the Obama party causing any rise in cases, it’s a lot less likely than the other large events we’ve seen recently where there was no testing or vaccine required to get in. Restaurants are obvious spreaders now, too, since people have their masks off to eat and no one is asking them for negative covid tests to dine in. I’m worried about the 30,000 isanders who will be at the Ag Fair this week, including all those unprotected children, some who aren’t even old enough to wear a mask. Let’s hope the Ag Society requires masks for everyone who can wear one on the entire campgrounds, not just indoors. It is utterly reckless not to mandate masks now.

    And, yes, let’s hope every single town stops twiddling their thumbs and requires indoor masks for all NOW.

      • Over 38,000 people over 3 1/2 days attended the Fair in 2018. But I agree, covid will impact how many go this year. It will still be in the tens of thousands. Got an email from the Ag Society this morning, stating all systems go, but with the same ridiculous covid precautions of required masks indoors, but a nice “asking” all unvaxed to wear the masks outdoors on all the crowded fairgrounds. Who would have ever thought the Ag Society would act so irresponsibly and as a dangerous menace to the local community and beyond?

        • Do you know how many people are here this August? Seems more than usual to me. Estimating 30,000 fair attendees this year, after seeing how people are behaving after more than a year of restraints, by crowding into other island outdoor activities, mostly entirely maskless, is not unreasonable. I can show you photos of unmasked crowded lines of people, with kids, with zero social distancing, in Menemsha from this past week, a week of doubled covid cases. Imagine the food area/tables at the Fair this week.


      • I’m not counting heads, but the estimates I’ve heard for expected Ag Fair attendance this year are higher than 30,000.

    • An unconscious person that is presented to emergency health services cannot verify their vax status; regardless, they should be placed into the unvaccinated category until their medical history is verified.

  3. We can take small but powerful steps now to get this under control or we can face the possibility of dramatic action later should things get out of hand. Fixing a major problem is always worse than prevention. Those who refuse to cooperate with reasonable measures like masks and vaccines will be the first to rant if everything gets closed down. Support your own cause.

    • It’s possible but unlikely that this is the product of any one event. The problem is bigger than that. There are countless people here walking around without masks, and some are unvaccinated. It’s that simple and serious. This was inevitable. After a year and a half of “do your part”, some still refuse. This won’t be under control until they change their thinking. We’re all basically being held hostage by the opinions and logic of a group that denies facts. Fun times. If they can do contact tracing and narrow things down, great. But I think it would be pretty difficult with the mingling and shifting population on any given day.

    • The big “up yours” is from the Agricultural Society” that so far, with one day away, has not mandated a universal mask requirement on the entire fairgrounds at the Ag Fair for everyone over the age of 2 who medically can wear one.

        • What you’re doing affects everyone else you personally encounter.

          Mature, responsible adults care about other people and their survival, Mike. It’s called human decency — especially during a highly contagious, often lethal or permanently damaging, global pandemic.

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