Martha’s Vineyard ‘high risk’ for COVID

Despite new warnings, Aquinnah eases mask advisory.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again. -MVTimes

On the same day the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital issued a warning about an uptick in Island COVID-19 cases spurred by new subvariants, the Island boards of health reported the Vineyard is back at “high risk” for spread of COVID-19.

In her report issued late Wednesday, Maura Valley, a spokesperson for the Island boards of health, wrote that while the Centers for Disease Control still has Martha’s Vineyard listed as at “medium risk,” the numbers and hospitalizations put the Island at “high risk” based on CDC metrics.

On Wednesday, Valley reported the Island had 52 new cases of COVID. That’s the largest single day total in months. There were also three hospitalizations in the last three days and two people remain hospitalized, according to the report. The Times is not immune. Three employees have tested positive over the past week and family members of other staff members are positive.

Under the high risk guidelines issued by the CDC, it is recommended that masks be worn indoors. The guidelines also recommend getting tested if an individual is showing symptoms and taking additional precautions for those who have compromised immune systems.

Even as most boards of health and hospital officials are still encouraging mask wearing in large crowds or indoors, Aquinnah officials issued an advisory on Thursday morning stating that masks are now option indoors “for most individuals, regardless of vaccination status” in the town starting on Friday, July 1. 

According to the announcement, this advisory change was made since “Massachusetts is a national leader in vaccination rates with over 84 percent of eligible residents fully vaccinated and over half of adults boosted, and in light of recent improvements in COVID-19 indicators” and because “Massachusetts residents have ready access to vaccines, rapid tests, and therapeutics.” However, state regulations still require indoor masks to be worn in certain places, such as healthcare facilities. Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health still advises people with a weakened immune system, have an increased risk of illness because of age or underlying conditions, or has a household member with a weakened immune system to continue wearing masks. 

“This recommendation will be updated if the local Covid situation changes,” the announcement stated. “Of course, any person may elect to wear a mask indoors at Town Hall due to personal choice, age, and if underlying medical conditions exist which affect their immune status or if there are others at risk in their home environment.”


  1. Wishing a speedy and full recovery to the 3 hospitalized patients and those who are managing okay with covid at home.

    Really, hardly anyone is wearing a mask indoors or in crowds outside. It’s fairly useless to offer these warnings, but those with poor immune systems and their loved ones appreciate the updates and continuing coverage. I think we all know what’s going to happen here in the weeks after the Fourth of July holiday.

  2. Hope everyone at the Times is doing alright. It’s very unusual not to have any parade and July 4th coverage by now. Thinking of you all.

    • We’re pulling it together now, Jackie, but very insightful on your part. I have been recovering from a pretty severe case over the weekend. Glad I was fully vaxxed and boosted because I wouldn’t want to know what it would have been like without that protection.

      • I thought that might be going on, not because I’m insightful, but because I have Jewish mother radar. Hope the worst is behind you and that your recovery is straight forward. I’m glad you had the vaccine/booster protection, too!

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