COVID cases continue spike

Chilmark, Oak Bluffs to distribute rapid test kits.

COVID cases continue to rise. -Nicole Jackson

The number of new COVID cases shot into the triple digits last week, with 105 new cases — the first time cases have reached over 100 since the beginning of April.

From Dec. 5 to 11, there were 80 cases reported at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, 13 at TestMV, and 12 at other providers. Of those, 81 are being followed by public health officials, 22 are not, and two were lost to follow-up calls. There were 61 symptomatic individuals, 12 with no symptoms, and 32 with unknown symptom status. 

Nearly half of the new cases, 55, were fully vaccinated, 37 were not vaccinated, and 13 had an unknown vaccination status.

There were 17 cases between 0 and 10 years of age, seven between 11 and 19 years of age, 12 in their 20s, 19 in their 30s, 13 in their 40s, 13 in their 50s, 19 in their 60s, and five over 70 years of age.

The hospital currently has two patients hospitalized with COVID, and both are in fair condition, according to communications specialist Marissa Lefebvre.

As of Tuesday this week, the boards of health have reported 48 new positive test results.

On the vaccine front, as of Dec. 8, the hospital has administered more than 33,000 vaccine doses — 14,888 first, 14,956 second, and 3,515 third doses.

There were 1,215 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered aboard the vaccine bus this weekend, according to Leah Palmer, the ELL director at Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, told The Times in an email. The bus, parked at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, offered vaccines to children 5 years and older, as well as booster shots for adults. 

Meanwhile, Chilmark and Oak Bluffs were chosen as two of the over 100 cities and towns in Massachusetts to secure 2.1 million in iHealth Labs over the counter, at-home rapid antigen tests. 

Cities and towns were determined by having the highest proportion of families living below the federal poverty level. Municipalities will determine how to distribute tests within their community. Kits will be delivered later this week. Tests can be completed in 15 minutes without sending a sample to a laboratory.

Chilmark health agent Marina Lent told The Times she hopes to receive the tests within five days, but said, “I’ll believe it when I see the box.”

Lent said the state is trying to get test kits out before the end of the year holidays, and give public health officials time to distribute kits to their communities. 

“With rapid transmission, the rapid test is extremely helpful for getting results in less than two days,” she said. “They’ve been available in the stores, but not everyone can buy them. That’s a discrepancy public health officials need to address.”

Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools’ surveillance testing program is now up and running, according to a letter from Superintendent Matt D’Andrea to families and staff. Each week all consenting students and staff will be tested. Additionally, students and staff on overnight trips will be tested the week before and week after overnight trips.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see a rise in the number of COVID cases on the Island and, as we go into the winter months, we are concerned that this trend will persist. Consequently we will be taking proactive steps aimed at keeping our students and staff safe,” the letter reads in part.


    • But if you’re vaccinated you can still get and spread Covid. That is a fact. Most of the cases now are in vaccinated people, the vaccine doesn’t magically make this disappear.

      • What’s your point? If vaxed you are LESS likely to get COVID and much much LESS likely to be hospitalized than those people who are unvaxed. THIS IS A FACT! GET VAXED PEOPLE! It isn’t complicated. Do you refuse to wear a seatbelt because you can still die in an accident even though wearing a belt makes you much more likely to survive? It’s really sad that common sense isn’t all that common.

        • Speaking of common sense you should know that argument of “seatbelts” is a false equivalence fallacy. Therefore invalid.

          Also, who is ensuring that masks are being used and disposed of correctly. They’re only effective if we follow the CDC guidance which is you should remove the face mask, discard it safely, and replace it with a new one. To safely discard your mask, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the trash. Wash your hands after handling the mask.

          Are you doing that?

          • Moving the goalposts. We were commenting about vaccines not masks. Btw seatbelt comparison is perfectly valid, you just don’t like it.

  1. So Chilmark is one of the 100 poorest towns in Massachusetts as far as proportion of families living below the federal poverty level? That’s unbelievable! Who knew?

    • Chris, how could you live on the Island and not know?
      Chilmark is not gated suburban town with $250,000 jobs a 20 minute commute away.

  2. Tisbury or Vineyard Haven if you prefer, is lead by a leadership in the BOS and town manager’s office which proves themselves inept, slothful and insipid. Why do we pay taxes to these morons, I am ashamed of my town government.

  3. I would like to hear from the “alternate realty ilk” (IRI) about this…
    I know you thought the pandemic was over a few months ago, mocked the scientist for telling us we could be in for a surge of cases around this time, and likely disregarded all suggestions that had anything to do with common sense regarding this plague.
    So, honestly– tell me — why this is over, or perhaps if you have had a sip of the elixir of truth, what is the reason as to why it is not ?
    I won’t call you names or berate you for your ignorance in the past.
    I just want to know what you think we should do now.
    A reasonable discussion, please.

    • Keep in mind folks this comment is from a guy who wears a colander on his head for religious purposes. Like Biden would say ” No Joke”

    • Keller, no one cares anymore due to mixed messages for almost two years. They want to get on with their lives. Get off the island and you will see normal living. People like you have a higher tolerance for crime than you do for Covid. Covid is a virus and its going to be around a long time and people are making their own decisions about their health.

      • The “religious” right thinks people can make their own decisions about their own body, as long as it’s not pregnant women who have to answer to ENGELMAN who thinks it’s his business. 😂

        And this hypocritical ignorance is why vaccine and mask mandates are so important when it comes to selfish fools and covid. We owe it to the memory of the 800,000 Americans who’ve died of Covid and the millions mourning their loss. NYC has mask and vaccine mandates for nearly everything and everyone over the age of 5.

        • Jackie with respect to your ”pregnant women” comment I would say abortion on demand up to 9 months is only legal in 6 countries so the USA mirrors North Korea and China. Most countries restrict abortion to certain weeks and 26 ban it altogether. Due to technology we now know much more about fetal viability than we did when Roe/Wade was introduced. Disagreement on abortion is not limited to the religious right that you are obsessed with and certainly no one must answer to me. I will stand by my opinion that most americans have moved on.

          • Andy— There is no right to an abortion on demand up to 9 months in any state in the country. In fact– it is banned in every state with the exception to save the life of the mother. Why do you hate motherhood ? — I would appreciate it if you would quit lying about stuff like this..

        • How’s that working out for them? Or any Democratic run states with any mandates?

          I’ll tell you how. They’re losing their base and losing their seats in office. The mid terms will show the same. People are tired of the one trick pony show going on.

          You don’t tell people to wear a jacket when they go out in winter and force them to wear it. If they get frostbite, it’s their own fault. If you haven’t been vaccinated, that’s your choice. I respect that. But it’s your fault when you’re in the hospital with covid.

          • Bill, frostbite is not contagious. Only the person in your example would be physically harmed by a decision to dress unwisely. The same can’t be said for those who refuse to take evidence-based precautions when out in public during a pandemic. They’ve caused great harm to many, not just themselves. If it impacts others, it’s no longer a personal choice.

      • Andy– Thank you again for informing me about my opinions. This time about what I tolerate.
        Just FYI , over the last 30 days, I spent 5 in Maine, 3 in Connecticut and 3 in New Jersey. I saw many people with masks on, but I did not witness a single crime .
        During the first 18 months of the pandemic Jan 1 2020 — June 30 2021 33,000 people died due to violence, (some were self defense, involuntary manslaughter, etc. ) 625,000 Americans died from covid during the same period. Yesterday, 1,598 Americans died from covid. About 47 were murdered.
        I wonder why you are more concerned about crime.
        And tell me, Andy, how your privileged life is being so disrupted by covid.
        You have bragged on this site about how you have been traveling around the U.S and the world during this pandemic.
        If you do not wear a mask , you are making a decision about the health of someone else.
        But thank you for finally acknowledging that this virus will be around for a long time. It’s refreshing to get this “mixed message” from you, since just a few months ago, you were assuring all of us here that the pandemic was over.
        Thank you for at least partially addressing my question, while only slightly attacking me.
        Merry Christmas..

        • Keller with your stats you made my point very well. In your mind Covid is a greater danger than violent crime. Most of us dont think so.

  4. Just an observation, but if you insert the word “year-round” between “proportion of” and “families” you can imagine that the elimination of seasonal homes from the equation leaves local families, including, possibly, tribal members, who are getting by on much less than their wealthy seasonal neighbors. Home test kits are expensive, but they are one more tool in the fight against covid. This is a public health issue, and we all should be encouraging one another to protect ourselves with vaccines and boosters when eligible.

  5. Im not at all shocked at this spike. I went into a local restaurant in OB to pick up a take-out order and there were people sitting at the bar, shoulder-to-shoulder, unmasked. Come on people- be smarter.

    • Oh no….fully vaccinated people were not living in fear and enjoying their lives! Shame on them for not staying at home forever.

  6. It was also reported yesterday that one out of every 100 seniors (age 65+) in the U.S. has now died from COVID. We have to keep up our efforts. Thank you to everyone who has made it a priority to protect the entire Island community. You are appreciated.

  7. Keller the exception is ”mothers health” not ”mothers life”. You are the one lying. Mothers health means anything.

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