Island health officials reported 16 new positive coronavirus tests on Friday — the highest total this week after reporting only three cases Thursday.
The 16 cases Friday bring the weekly case count to 56 new patients on-Island, and marks one of the largest single-day Island case totals since the pandemic began. Two cases Friday were tested at TestMV, while the other 14 were tested at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, according to health agents.
In an expanded case update issued Friday afternoon, health officials reported that there are currently 41 active cases on the Island. Active cases are patients currently in isolation who are being monitored by Island public health agencies.
All other cases have been completed, released from isolation or lost to follow-up, according to the report.
The period between Nov. 29 and Dec. 4 has seen the third-highest seven-day case total since the pandemic began, with officials reporting that 48 patients tested during the period received positive results. The two largest case-count weeks occurred earlier in November, when 63 patients tested positive between Nov. 8 and Nov. 14 and 61 patients tested positive between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21.
All of those cases have been completed, according to the report.
The Island has reported 250 positive, laboratory confirmed coronavirus tests since Oct. 25, representing 75 per cent of the total 334 positive tests on the Island since the pandemic started.
The report states that 144, or 44 per cent of cases, are linked to another case, with two clusters reported. Health agents have not reported a case cluster since 19 individuals connected to Cronig’s Market tested positive earlier in November, forcing the grocery store to close for a week.
A daily update from the hospital reported that there are no patients hospitalized with Covid-19 as of 3:00 p.m. Friday.
Waterside Market in Vineyard Haven announced on their Facebook page Friday morning that they would be closing for a day to clean after an employee tested positive on Thursday. The store also announced that La Soffitta, a restaurant located upstairs of the market, would be closed for a 10-day period. The statement said the employee was asymptomatic.
Meanwhile, the Steamship Authority reported that it had cancelled both a noon and 1:15 p.m. trip on the ferry Martha’s Vineyard due to a crew member testing positive for the virus. The noon trip was scheduled to depart from Woods Hole and the 1:15 trip was scheduled to depart from Vineyard Haven.
According to SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll, the crew member last worked on a watch that began with the noon trip on Saturday, Nov. 28 and ended with the vessel’s 11:30 a.m. arrival in Woods Hole on Nov. 29. Mr. Driscoll said the employee developed symptoms after their shift, got tested for the virus and received the results Friday morning.
“As the employee was a member of the crew that was due to take its watch with the noon departure of the M/V Martha’s Vineyard from Woods Hole, that crew was instructed not to report for duty on the vessel. The noon departure from Woods Hole and the 1:15 p.m. departure from Vineyard Haven were cancelled as a result, but a substitute crew was able to be assembled to allow the vessel to make the rest of its scheduled trips,” Mr. Driscoll wrote in a press release.
Mr. Driscoll said the employee was unlikely to have any prolonged exposure with the public due to their work duties. In a brief interview, he added that the positive test was unlikely to result in further trip cancellations.
“We’re okay, we’ve got a substitute crew ready to go so it shouldn’t affect vessel routes,” Mr. Driscoll said.
Mr. Driscoll said that the entire, approximately 10-person crew that last worked with the positive employee would receive virus tests Friday through a partnership with Cape Cod Healthcare and the Barnstable Health Department. Employees will not be allowed to return to work until receiving a negative test, Mr. Driscoll said.
Statewide, the Department of Public Health continued to report staggering case counts, with 5,192 patients testing positive for the virus on Friday — a total only surpassed by the more than 6,000 positive patients on Thursday.
Hospitalizations continue to climb across the state, with 1,394 patients currently hospitalized with the virus and 278 in intensive care units. The state also reported 37 new deaths from the virus, bringing the total to 10,674 since the pandemic began.