State coronavirus numbers skyrocketed to a new record again on Thursday even as Island case tallies eased, with health agents reporting three new Covid-19 cases on Vineyard — the smallest daily case total in weeks.
In a daily case update that went out Thursday afternoon, health officials reported that two of the new patients were tested at TestMV and one at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. The three new cases Thursday come as case numbers have declined throughout the week, with officials reporting 14 new cases on Monday, 11 Tuesday and six Wednesday.
But the 34 cases since Friday still marks one of the Island’s highest weekly case loads since the pandemic began, and is on par with weekly numbers from late October and early November, when the first surge in case counts started on the Island.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Public Health reported a record 6,477 new coronavirus cases across the commonwealth on Thursday, breaking Wednesday’s previous record daily high by nearly 2,000 cases as a statewide spike continues. State officials said in their update that 680 of the cases were from before Dec. 1 but were previously unreported.
The state has now reported more than 4,000 new cases for two straight days, doubling daily case averages in the run-up and immediate aftermath of the Thanksgiving holiday. In a press briefing Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker said the high new case totals showed that community spread was rampant throughout the commonwealth.
Statewide hospitalizations have also been steadily climbing, with 1,324 Covid-19 patients now being treated in hospitals and 261 in the intensive care unit. The state also reported 49 new deaths on Thursday — it’s highest count since May — and the seven-day weighted positivity average reached 5.3 per cent.
There are now more than 232,000 patients who have tested positive for the virus, and 10,637 who have died. No patients are currently hospitalized on Martha’s Vineyard, according to a daily online update from Martha’s Vineyard hospital as of 3:00 p.m. Thursday.
In an expanded weekly state report, the town of Tisbury’s risk assessment was lowered to moderate, or “yellow” on Thursday for the first time in three weeks after the town reported 22 new cases over the past 14 days — three fewer than the 25 required to be considered “high risk” by the state. The town will remain in Phase Three, Step One of Gov. Baker’s reopening plan until at least next Monday.
Edgartown reported 33 new cases over the past 14 days, putting it in the red, or high risk category for the third week in a row and signalling that it would have to roll back to Phase Three, Step One of the state’s four-phase reopening plan as well. The roll back will occur on Monday, according to the governor’s executive order.
Oak Bluffs was designated a moderate risk community in the state report, after reporting 19 new cases over the past 14 days. Oak Bluffs was designated a high-risk community for the first time last week.
All three up-Island towns did not register enough cases over the past two weeks to receive a risk assessment, with West Tisbury reporting nine and Chilmark and Aquinnah reporting zero.
Testing numbers have also continued to steadily rise, with more than 32,000 tests conducted at the hospital and TestMV. The hospital is averaging approximately 100 tests per day, according to officials, while TestMV has been testing approximately 400 during busy days in recent weeks.
The Island has now reported a total of 318 confirmed positive coronavirus patients, with more than half coming since mid-October. Another 27 patients have tested positive for viral antibodies or been symptomatically diagnosed with the virus.