Martha’s Vineyard health agents reported a flurry of new positive Covid-19 tests over the week and prior weekend as a case cluster traced to a Vineyard Haven barber shop grew to include customers from the store.

In an expanded weekly report that came out midday Monday, health agents reported 47 positive cases between Sunday, March 21 and Friday, March 27. 

Later in the week on Friday, Ms. Valley wrote in an email that 69 new cases had been reported between Sunday, March 29 and Friday, April 2. She added that health agents would start reporting case numbers three times per week due to the increased case counts. Ms. Valley said that more details on the 69 new cases would be available in an expanded report Monday.

The weekly case totals mark a precipitous spike from the past three months, and is the highest six-day case total since the last week of January, when 45 cases were reported.

Of the new cases last week, 36 were tested at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, seven at TestMV, one by the Wampanoag Tribe, one from the public school testing program and two from off-Island providers. Health agents said in the report that 36 patients are symptomatic, nine are asymptomatic and six are unknown.

In a follow-up interview Monday, Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said a large portion of the cases were reported over the weekend, with 12 patients testing positive on Friday and 16 on Saturday. Ms. Valley had previously reported that 25 patients tested positive between Sunday and Thursday of last week.

“I don’t like those numbers,” Ms. Valley said. “It’s frustrating.”

The expanded report shows that cases on the Island gradually declined from a peak of 99 weekly cases in early January, decreasing to about 25 cases per week in February and fewer than ten per week during early March. The 47 new cases since last Sunday is more than the 23 that been previously reported for the entire month.

Ms. Valley also said that a case cluster traced to King’s Barber Shop in Vineyard Haven had expanded over the weekend. Seven cases have now been traced to the store, including two customers and one of their contacts who tested positive for the virus on Friday afternoon. Along with the customers, two employees and family members of employees have tested positive.

“I’m hoping that has run its course,” Ms. Valley said.

On Friday, Ms. Valley said that the shop had used proper social-distancing and safety protocols, including masks.

The root of other cases remains more unclear. While Ms. Valley said that there were at least two five-person family or household groups in the recent spike, few of the new cases had been traced back to travel or other easily-identifiable causes.

“A lot of them are all over the place,” Ms. Valley said. “There are some that are families.”

The spike on-Island comes as Nantucket, Cape Cod and much of the state have seen case increases in the past week. 

The 47 new cases reported last week do not include seven additional new cases that were reported on Sunday, Ms. Valley said. She also said that she was not aware of anyone testing positive who was vaccinated.

According to a website update, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has vaccinated 6,715 people with first doses and 4,578 with second-dose shots. The great majority of those shots have gone to first responders, health care workers and Island residents 65 or older.

“The positive numbers are going up in the younger groups,” Ms. Valley said.

Although people 60 and older, as well as certain sectors of the workforce, like food services employees, are now eligible for the vaccine, appointments for shots remain scarce.

Hospital officials did not respond to inquiries about the number of appointments filled during signups on Saturday, or the number of available appointments for signups at 5 p.m. Monday, March 29. Since last week, the hospital has been vaccinating approximately 400-500 people with their second dose shots, and fewer than 100 with first-dose shots.

Vaccine signups for eligible residents occur weekly at 8:00 a.m. Saturday and 5:00 p.m. Monday.

To signup, visit and click on the link that says “schedule your Covid-19 vaccine appointment.”