(April 24, 2021) Four new coronavirus cases were reported on Nantucket Saturday morning, increasing to 1,513 the total number of positive tests on the island since the pandemic began.
The results also included 73 negatives. Forty COVID-19 cases have been reported on the island in the past seven days, an 8.2 percent weekly positivity rate.
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.
“We have to assume this spread is being caused by variants,” health director Roberto Santamaria said earlier this month. “And now we are seeing with the nice weather and coming into the shoulder season people are getting lax in their safety measures like mask-wearing and distancing.”
Vaccination of the general public began April 19. (Click here for more information from NCH).
As of Tuesday, 7,203 first doses and 4,674 second doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered on Nantucket. Island health officials are concerned, however, at the pace with which vaccines are reaching the island from the state. Click here for story
All COVID-19 testing is now 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 will be held from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Monday-Friday.
COVID-19 elective testing for asymptomatic patients (those with no symptoms) will be held from 10 a.m.-noon Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Saturdays. Starting Wednesday, it will be by appointment only. Click here for more.
Hospital staff have collected 31,359 nasal swabs for testing since the start of the pandemic last March. In addition to the 1,513 positive tests – 4.83 percent of the total number returned – 29,823 have come back negative, and 23 are 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).
Gov. Charlie Baker in late Februry lifted the 9:30 p.m. statewide restaurant closing time, and in early March increased capcacity limits for restaurants, theaters, museums and other indoor locations. Additional capacity increases took effect March 22 (Click here for story).
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 this month.
"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," 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 1,447 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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