(May 2, 2021) Two new coronavirus cases were reported on Nantucket Sunday morning, as the surge linked to new COVID-19 variants on the island appears to be waning.
The results, from the past two days, also included 100 negatives. Twenty-one COVID-19 cases have b3een reported on the island in the past seven days, a 5.9 percent weekly positivity rate.
There have been 1,537 the total positive tests on the island since the pandemic began.
The Board of Health on Friday lifted its outdoor mask mandate, a move Gov. Charlie Baker made statewide earlier in the week. Masks are still required where social distancing is not possible. Read more
“The bulk of all our cases have been from indoor transmissions,” health director Roberto Santamaria told the Select Board Wednesday night.
“Little by little we are getting through this, but what’s important to understand with the numbers we’re seeing on Nantucket as well as across the state is that COVID is one of those illnesses that’s going to be here to stay like the flu and the common cold."
There have been five COVID-19 Nantucket deaths since the start of the pandemic, the most recent April 7 – a woman in her mid-50s.
Vaccination of the general public began April 19. (Click here for more information from NCH).
Nantucket Cottage Hospital officials have administered first doses of the vaccine to 7,852 people, and two doses to 5,082 people as of Monday. About 45 percent of the island’s white population is fully vaccinated, while 20 percent of Black, 30 percent of Asian and 11 percent of Hispanic people are fully vaccinated, Santamaria said.
Nantucket Cottage Hospital has been informed it will receive about double its recent allocation of weekly vaccine doses – about 2,000 to 2,500 – for the upcoming week, hospital officials said. Click here for more.
All COVID-19 testing is being conducted at the hospital's 57 Prospect St. drive-through portico to free up additional vaccination space at the New South Road VFW. Testing for those with symptoms and close contacts is held from 7-10 a.m. Monday-Friday.
COVID-19 elective testing for asymptomatic patients (those with no symptoms) is by appointment only. Click here for more. Since drive-up testing ended April 28, the number of tests administered by the hospital has dropped by about 50 percent.
Hospital staff have collected 31,811 nasal swabs for testing since the start of the pandemic last March. In addition to the 1,537 positive tests – 4.83 percent of the total number returned – 30,273 have come back negative, and one is awaiting results.
The Nantucket Board of Health on Dec. 11, 2020 established a COVID-19 task force to better enforce and raise awareness of coronavirus regulations (Click here for story).
In addition to lifting the outdoor mask mandate, Baker's plan also includes raising gathering limits to 200 people indoors and 250 outdoors beginning May 29, which could have a major impact on the local wedding industry.
Part-time in-class learning for Nantucket public-school students resumed Jan. 14 after being remote only since before Christmas. Full in-class learning for elementary-school students began April 5, with middle- and high-school students scheduled to return full-time later in May.
"I ask everyone on Nantucket to take personal responsibility and do all you can to reduce the potential for transmission in our community. That means wearing masks, staying physically distant, washing your hands, and not hosting or attending gatherings with people outside your immediate households," Nantucket Cottage Hospital president and CEO Gary Shaw said recently.
"Most of all, we want our community to stay healthy, we want our economy to remain open, we want our public schools to be able to return to in-person learning. To that end, we must work together and apply the simple preventive measures that will keep this situation from spiraling out of control."
There have been 1,471 coronavirus cases confirmed on Nantucket in the past seven months, beginning Sept. 9, 2020 with a spike linked to workers in the trades, followed by a second surge in late September tied to a church function in which a communal meal was shared.
A third spike in early November was again tied to workers in the trades, followed by significant surges related to holiday gatherings and travel at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. A moderate surge in early March was tied to school-break-related travel, followed by the most recent rise in cases, which is believed to be linked to the arrival of additional COVID-19 variants on the island.
Prior to Sept. 9, Nantucket had one of the lowest COVID-19 rates in the state per 100,000 population, and the fewest confirmed cases of any county in Massachusetts.
The Board of Health on Oct. 6, 2020 voted to require all people on publicly-accessible property across the island to wear a mask, not just downtown and in Sconset, as was previously mandated.
It decided in mid-November against tightening restrictions to limit the total number of workers on a job site to six in an attempt to stop the spread (Click here for story).
Nantucket Cottage Hospital does not have an intensive-care unit and only five ventilators. Shaw has said patients in need of acute respiratory care would be transferred to mainland hospitals if at all possible.
The criteria for symptomatic drive-up testing at the hospital includes at least one of the following signs or symptoms consistent with a viral respiratory syndrome: subjective/documented fever, new sore throat, new cough, new runny nose/nasal congestion, new shortness of breath, new muscle aches or anosmia (new loss of sense of smell). Close contacts of COVID-19 positive patients and pre-procedure patients can also be tested.
For more information about symptomatic and asymptomatic testing, click here.
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