COVID cases double on Martha’s Vineyard

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Cases are on the rise, but the Island is still considered low risk. -Nicole Jackson

The number of cases of COVID-19 doubled to 58 from the previous week, though Island health officials point out that the bulk of those tests were over-the-counter tests that don’t contribute to the community’s risk level, based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) metrics.

The 58 cases include 18 PCR tests and 40 OTC/antigen tests, according to the weekly report issued by Island boards of health spokeswoman Maura Valley. That’s the most cases since mid-February, though there were no hospitalizations.

There have been 27 cases reported since Sunday this week, but of those only five have been PCR tests.

Please note that community risk level is based on CDC metrics using PCR-positive cases and the number of hospitalizations in the community. Based on PCR-positive cases, Martha’s Vineyard is in the low-risk category,” Valley wrote. “If known OTC cases were factored in, our community would be in the medium-risk category.  When a community is in the medium-risk category, CDC recommends that individuals at high risk for severe illness speak with their healthcare provider about whether they should wear a mask and take other precautions.”

The Island has lifted its indoor mask mandate, and students and staff are no longer required to wear masks in schools.

According to the weekly report, the boards of health are still following 21 cases, and 37 have been completed. Of those who tested positive, 44 were symptomatic, 3 were asymptomatic, and 11 were unknown. In terms of vaccinations, 26 had received booster shots, 17 completed their first series of shots, one was partially vaccinated, 10 were unvaccinated, and the status of four was unknown.

Half of the cases were reported in individuals 29 and younger, with the bulk of those among individuals from 11 to 19 years old.

Asked if she believed the cases were related to the recent school vacation week, Valley wrote that contract tracers are still working on reaching out to those who tested positive, but she doesn’t believe they are related to travel. “I think the message needs to be that although mask mandates have been lifted, COVID is not gone, and people need to continue taking precautions like testing and staying home when sick,” Valley wrote. “Home test kits and high-quality masks continue to be available at board of health offices for residents needing them.”

There were only 29 individuals tested at TestMV, which has announced that it will cease operations at the end of this month.

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