COVID risk still ‘high’

Nicole Jackson

The number of COVID-19 cases for Martha’s Vineyard remained in triple digits for the week between Sunday, June 26, and Saturday, July 2, with 142 cases reported. During that seven-day stretch, there were seven hospitalizations, and two people remain hospitalized.

The Island remains at “high risk” under Centers for Disease Control guidelines, according to the report issued by Maura Valley, a spokesperson for the Island boards of health.

There were 152 cases reported for the previous seven-day stretch.

Last Wednesday, Valley reported the Island had 52 new cases of COVID. That’s the largest single-day total in months. The Times is not immune. Four 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 June 30 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, who have an increased risk of illness because of age or underlying conditions, or have 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. I could not agree with you more on this! We are nowhere out of the woods with this virus. And I am so sick of the politicization of wearing a mask. Women will be forced to give birth, but hey, “don’t mess with my freedom with asking me to wear a mask”. And along with that, no banning of the assault weapons. Sheer madness.

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