After a five-day caseless streak, the Island boards of health reported two new Covid-19 patients on Wednesday — one from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and one who was tested off-Island.
State public health officials also announced on Wednesday that nearly all students in Massachusetts will be required to receive a flu vaccine to enroll in class, as the pandemic continues to reshape education from daycare to graduate school.
The two new cases on Island — both female — bring the Vineyard’s total coronavirus caseload to 83, including 63 individuals who have tested positive for the virus through a laboratory test, 17 who have tested positive for viral antibodies and three who have been symptomatically diagnosed with the disease.
According to a daily demographic report compiled by the boards of health, one of the new patients is in their 30s and the other is under the age of 20. There have now been nine cases reported under the age of 20; eight in their 30s; four in their 40s; 17 in their 50s; nine in their 60s and three over 70.
In their daily online case update, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital reported that it had tested 3,652 patients for the virus, with 43 positives, 3,559 negatives and 50 tests still pending. The 43 positive cases reflected a one-case jump since Tuesday, and marked the fifth case reported at the hospital in August.
The hospital is testing symptomatic patients and their close contacts for the virus, as well as hospital inpatients.
The other positive case reported on Wednesday was tested off-Island, according to Tisbury health agent Maura Valley. Four Island patients have now tested positive off-Island and been referred to Island health agents since the pandemic began.
TestMV, the comprehensive testing site at the regional high school, also eclipsed the 10,000 test mark on Wednesday — reaching the goal officials set when the unique initiative was launched back in mid-May. Of the 10,111 tests conducted at the site, 19 have come back positive, 9,274 negative and 818 are still pending.
The town of Aquinnah has also tested 99 patients for the virus through their board of health. None of the tests have come back positive.
Meanwhile, a new order from the state DPH that went out Wednesday is requiring all students over six months of age who are enrolled in child care, day care, preschool, elementary school, high school, college and graduate school to receive a flu shot.
Students will have to receive the immunization before Dec. 31, 2020 unless they provide either a medical or religious exemption. Home-schooled students, as well as higher education students living off-campus or in remote learning only, are also exempt. Elementary and secondary students in districts and schools that are using a remote education model are not exempt, according to the release.
“Every year, thousands of people of all ages are affected by influenza, leading to many hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, the medical director for the DPH’s Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences in the release. “It is more important now than ever to get a flu vaccine because flu symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19 and preventing the flu will save lives and preserve healthcare resources.”
The flu vaccine requirement is in addition to other vaccine requirements by the state, according to the release.
Vineyard school officials have contemplated requiring Covid-19 testing for students to come back for in-person learning, but have not finalized a testing plan for students. Dr. Jeffrey Zack has said he is working on a plan to purchase Abbott rapid Covid-19 testing machines for schools.
According to superintendent Matthew D’Andrea, schools can require testing for classroom settings, but are still obligated to provide remote education to students who opt out of the test.