Martha’s Vineyard health officials are reporting the biggest increase in COVID-19 cases in more than a month on the island.
16 new cases of the virus were reported on the island from Monday to Saturday, more cases than in the last six weeks combined. About half of them were people that have already been vaccinated. Tisbury health director Maura Valley says that samples have been sent to an off-island lab to test for new variants — including the Delta variant — but none have been confirmed yet. The spike in COVID-19 cases comes one week after Barack Obama’s 60th party, but the outbreak’s timing may be “incidental.”
The ex-president was criticized for hosting such an event, celebrating his 60th birthday, amid rapid spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, even as Democrat politicians and health officials cautioned against crowded gatherings. Local health official Janet Hathaway told the Boston Herald that it’s “too early to tell” if there’s any connection between Obama’s party and the surge in Covid-19 cases. She said there was an uptick in cases in the first week of August. In fact, there were 23 infections reported from August 1-7.
At least eight restaurants were closed all or part of the past week because of Covid-19 cases among employees, and two will remain shuttered through next week, the local Vineyard Gazette newspaper reported. Test MV, the island’s free testing site, is moving to a larger facility to accommodate a jump in people seeking Covid-19 tests.