The Vineyard Gazette reported this morning that there’s a joint emergency board of health meeting scheduled for today to discuss an indoor mask mandate on the island as the Covid surge continues:
All three down-Island towns are scheduled to hold a joint emergency board of health meeting Tuesday to discuss an indoor mask mandate, as Covid cases continue to double by the week in August.
In a Covid-19 case update that went out Monday afternoon, health agents reported 87 confirmed positive cases between Sunday, August 8 and Saturday, August 14, about twice as many reported last week, four times as many as reported the week prior, and nearly reaching the record weekly caseload on the Island.
“This is the third-most cases we have seen since the start of the pandemic,” Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said in an interview Monday.
Masks are currently recommended on the island, but as we saw with the giant Obama birthday bash, not everyone who says they take the pandemic seriously actually takes the pandemic seriously, hence the discussion of a mandate:
Boards of health have the broad power to institute mask mandates, which were put in place during the summer of 2020 and later rescinded in accordance with Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan this spring.
But as cases have climbed precipitously this summer with the Delta variant present on-Island, the Vineyard health agents issued an Islandwide mask advisory for indoor public spaces earlier in August.
According to the New York Times, the 14-day change in cases in the county is +318%:
Keep in mind, even though we’re talking about a small number of cases, this is still resulting in business disruptions on the island and the virus now “seems to be happening everywhere.” From the Vineyard Gazette:
While a large portion of cases reported last week were work-related, closing down at least four restaurants in Edgartown and passing between staff at multiple businesses, Ms. Valley said spread has since become more ubiquitous.
“It seems to be happening everywhere,” Ms. Valley said.
The Ritz in Oak Bluffs closed last weekend after a staff member tested positive for the virus.