For the first time since the end of August, positive test results for COVID-19 have reached 76 cases — nearly four times as many cases as the Island reported the previous week.
There were 66 positive results at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, 7 at Test MV, and 3 from other providers, according to Monday’s weekly report from the Island boards of health.
On Monday, Marissa Lefebvre, a spokeswoman for Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, reported two people were hospitalized with the virus and are in fair condition. One of the two people is the same person who was hospitalized on Friday, she wrote in an email.
Of the 76 cases reported, 33 were symptomatic, 7 were asymptomatic, 36 are unknown. The report states that 57 were fully vaccinated, 3 were partially vaccinated, 12 were unvaccinated, and 4 had an unknown vaccination status. The vast majority of this week’s infections are in individuals under 40 years old.
Since the pandemic began in March of 2020, the Island has had 2,366 total positive results and more than 76,500 tests have been performed between the hospital, TestMV, Aquinnah, and the public schools. Despite the rise in cases, there were no additional clusters reported from last week’s test results.
The uptick in cases comes in the wake of the busy Thanksgiving week on the Island. In an email to The Times on Friday, Maura Valley, a spokesperson for the Island boards of health, wrote: “I attribute the spike in cases to people moving indoors and celebrating the holidays, whether by traveling to visit family or having family members and friends visit them.”
With other events planned for the holidays, Valley reminded folks to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID. “As has been said many times, people should wear masks when in congested areas or in close proximity to others outside of their immediate family,” she wrote. “They should also get vaccinated if they haven’t done so already and get a booster when they are eligible.”
It also comes as Massachusetts has reported the first case of the Omicron variant in Massachusetts. On Saturday, the state Department of Public Health issued a press release indicating that the first case of the Omicron variant was detected in Massachusetts. “The individual is a female in her 20s and a resident of Middlesex County who traveled out of state. She is fully vaccinated, has experienced mild disease, and did not require hospitalization. The variant was identified through sequencing performed at New England Biolabs,” the release states.
The release goes on to say that while the Omicron variant is classified by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization as a “variant of concern,” scientists are still working to determine its severity and how easily it’s transmitted. “There is some limited evidence that Omicron could be more transmissible than other COVID-19 virus variants, including Delta,” the release states. “This variant is being monitored closely by public health authorities around the world, and more information about what we know about Omicron is available on the CDC website.”
The release goes on to urge folks who haven’t been vaccinated to get a shot and for others to get the booster.
Valley said the Island will provide additional access to booster shots with a vaccine bus Dec. 11 and Dec. 12. People are asked to preregister for the shots. A flyer provides the information in both English and Portuguese. Here’s the link to sign up.