Three new coronavirus cases were reported by Martha’s Vineyard Hospital early Wednesday morning as an Island case surge that began early last week continues. Island boards of health reported a fourth case later in the day.

There have now been 24 new cases reported since last Monday, and six in the last three days — with the Island averaging approximately two cases per day for nearly two weeks. State public health officials use per-day case averages to assess a community’s risk for virus transmission, with the Vineyard’s current numbers potentially putting it in the moderate risk category for the first time since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, case numbers continued to rise throughout the state on Wednesday, with the state Department of Public Health reporting more than 1,600 new coronavirus patients. 

In a press briefing Wednesday morning, chief operations officer and head nurse Claire Seguin said the hospital has now had 67 patients test positive for the virus — three more than previously announced. It is not immediately clear whether the patients are connected to a cluster of cases health officials previously traced back to a Columbus Day weekend wedding held on-Island.

A later demographic update from Island boards of health reported a fourth patient who tested positive at the hospital later in the day. Daily case numbers from TestMV — a free, comprehensive testing site located at the regional high school — come out around 5 p.m.

The four new cases on Wednesday morning bring the Island’s total number of patients who have tested positive through a PCR test to 113. Another 24 have either tested positive for viral antibodies or been symptomatically diagnosed with the virus.

Ten cases have been traced to the Columbus Weekend wedding, eight of which remain on-Island and in isolation.

At the press briefing, hospital CEO Denise Schepici expressed grave concern about the rise in the number of cases on the Island, reiterating her request for Vineyarders to follow social distancing protocols and mask wearing as the weather forces more people indoors.

“We are concerned, especially as we head into the winter months and we know this virus has a better chance of spreading because folks are spreading more time indoors,” Ms. Schepici said. “And with the holidays fast approaching and us all wanting to travel and be with families, you really must be vigilant and continue to try to contain this spread.”

Hospital officials also expressed support for Gov. Charlie Baker’s new executive orders requiring masks for anyone in public regardless of their ability to socially distance, early closing times for businesses and stricter gathering rules that require social events to end earlier at night. The orders go into effect Friday, Nov. 6.

Ms. Schepici also wanted to remind Islanders that receiving a negative test did not amount to a “safety-net,” saying that testing should not be used to lull Islanders in a false sense of security. The hospital continues to test symptomatic patients and their close contacts for the virus, while TestMV is focused on testing asymptomatic patients.

The hospital also confirmed that it has not had any patients hospitalized since an individual was admitted last weekend and released in good condition approximately 10 days ago. Responding to questions from the Gazette, Ms. Seguin said the hospital continued to prepare for a patient surge and was constantly refreshing surge protocols.

“We are reviewing current plans for surge if we had to react that way. So that includes staffing patterns, making sure we have spaces for patients that are safe, and processes for screening and testing,” Ms. Seguin said. “Actually this afternoon, we are going to start reviewing our plans again and making sure we are ready to handle should we have more patients in the hospital.”

The hospital and boards of health put out a joint statement Sunday, cautioning Islanders about the recent case surge and warning that community spread of the virus may be occurring on the Island. Ms. Schepici seconded those concerns on Wednesday.

“We are in a state of Covid fatigue,” Ms. Schepici said. “I know we are tired of this virus. But this is not a time to let our guard down."

Story updated to include a fourth case that was reported later in the day Wednesday.