The Martha’s Vineyard boards of health reported one new case of Covid-19 from last week, the lowest weekly case load since the pandemic began, marking a milestone in the Island’s battle against the virus as summer descends.

The single case was confirmed between June 6 and June 12. Reached by phone Monday, Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said two additional cases were confirmed at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on Sunday. Both positives were in the 20-29 age group, she said.

Last week’s single case was asymptotic and identified through testing at the hospital, according to a report from the board of health. Continuing a recent trend, the case was confirmed in an Island resident between the ages of 11 and 19 years. Vaccines are only currently nationally eligible for people 12 years and older.

The recent case count is the lowest six-day total reported on the Island since June of last year and marks the lowest weekly virus load since the pandemic first emerged on the Island in March of 2020.

Cases surged heavily on the Island this March and remained stubbornly high through much of the spring, even as the virus began to decline across the region and country.

Island case numbers have been declining since May 22. In the past three weeks, the boards of health have reported 55, 26 and four cases respectively.

“It’s definitely one of the lowest [counts],” said Ms. Valley. “It feels awesome. I’m actually starting to look at other things on my desk and doing all of those other parts of my job that have kind of fallen to the side.”

Vaccination rates on the Island also remain high, with 85 per cent of total Dukes County residents receiving at least one dose and 74 per cent of residents fully vaccinated. Percentages for eligible residents (people 12 years and older) are similarly high, with 96 per cent of eligible residents receiving at least one dose and 84 per cent fully vaccinated.

The Island’s vaccination rate is among the highest in the state, second only to Nantucket, where 100 per cent of eligible residents have received at least one dose.

As of last Tuesday, the hospital had administered 13,393 first doses and 12,661 completed vaccinations. The hospital’s vaccine clinic has moved to three days per week, on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

At a press briefing Wednesday, hospital officials continued to emphasize the importance of the vaccine and urged continued caution, even as they lauded the Island's return to normalcy. Hospital CEO Denise Schepici called Gov. Charlie Baker's order to end the state of emergency a milestone.

"It signals that this is the time to shift back, at the right pace, to the way life used to be. Who doesn't appreciate that?" Ms. Schepici said. "However, it is important to caution that COVID is still with us. Now is the time to get vaccinated."

The hospital has scheduled two pop-up vaccine clinics for June 22, one at the Chilmark Community Center at 9:00 a.m. and one at the Chappaquiddick Community Center at 1:30 p.m. The clinics will be open for walk-in appointments.

With summer arriving and demand dropping, the hospital announced plans to move its vaccine clinic entirely indoors and change some of its strict pandemic policies. Patient visitation is now allowed at the hospital, with one visitor allowed per patient, officials announced. Ms. Schepci also said that hospital business — particularly in the emergency room — had picked up in recent months as well.

"It’s a relief to get back to our normal busy," Ms. Schepici said.

While case rates on the Island have finally flattened, the arrival of the summer season and influx of visitors and seasonal residents have cast the future of the virus’s presence on the Island in uncertain terms, health agents said.

Ms. Valley said with new variants recently identified and the recent lifting of all Covid restrictions and mask mandates by Governor Baker last month, it’s challenging to predict what the summer will bring.

“I really don’t know what we’re going to see this summer,” she said. “We hope that the trend continues here and that the numbers stay low . . . but it’s so hard to tell.”

The Island has not mirrored trends in other places.

When cases surged nationwide over the summer of 2020, Island case counts remained low. But as cases receded in March and April of 2021, Island cases surged, surprising health officials.

“[It’s tricky] because there’s no reason to believe that we would be different than anywhere else but the trends during the pandemic kind of show that we have,” Ms. Valley said. “What we found last year during the summer was that we never know.”

In that light, Ms. Valley urged Islanders and visitors to practice vigilance and caution.

“People need to be aware that the pandemic is still going on and protect themselves,” she said.