Islanders are queuing up in large numbers for Covid-19 tests and booster shots, as an early winter case surge swells on the Vineyard and public health officials keep close eye on the numbers with the approach of the Christmas holiday.

And with the recent proliferation of over-the-counter test kits, a new local website has launched for at-home testers who test positive. The site address is

Lea Hamner at TestMV. — Ray Ewing

In their weekly update Monday, the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health reported 112 new cases from Dec. 12 through Dec. 18. Of those, 64 patients were fully vaccinated, 34 were unvaccinated and 14 were unknown.Reports for Sunday and Monday added another 19 confirmed cases. Case counts continue to be the highest they have been since early April.

Three people are hospitalized with the virus, hospital spokesman Marissa Lefebvre confirmed Monday.

Ms. Lefebvre declined to comment on the vaccination status of the hospitalized patients.

Late last week, Ms. Lefebvre said seven people had been hospitalized in recent weeks, and one person had been flown off Island.

In an email to the Gazette Monday, Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said no single factor is driving the latest case surge.

“I don’t believe there are Island-specific reasons for the continued increase. As in other communities we have people gathering indoors and many people traveling to and from the Island to celebrate the holidays,” Ms. Valley wrote.

She also said health officials have not yet confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant on the Island. “But I believe it’s just a matter of time,” Ms. Valley wrote. “Two samples were sent for sequencing late last week but we haven’t yet received the results,” she added.

Cases are climbing. — Courtesy Island board of health

Meanwhile, activity has been brisk at TestMV, the free test site located at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. Spokesman Mary Breslauer said the site administered close to 300 tests last week, a significant increase from the roughly 150 tests it has been giving weekly for the last few months.

“[We] have just started to see numbers climb up, although nowhere near at the peak of the beginning of the pandemic,” she said.

Ms. Breslauer explained the new website that allows people who test positive using an at-home test to register the result online so it goes to the Island boards of health.

“What we want to do is capture those positives and inform people what their responsibility is post-test,” Ms. Breslauer said.

Ms. Valley said contact tracing will continue on the Vineyard, despite an announcement by the Massachusetts Department of Health last week that it would end contact tracing except for cluster cases, in order to shift the focus to vaccines.

“At this time we’re not changing our contact tracing procedure,” Ms. Valley wrote. “Local health will continue to reach out to individuals who test positive. We feel it’s important to speak with positive individuals to let them know how to take care of themselves and the people around them that might be at high risk. Many people disregard public health information so it doesn’t hurt to reinforce the appropriate steps they should take and will continue to do so through contact tracing for as long as we’re able to.”

At the hospital, vaccination activity is also brisk, especially for booster shots, according to Ms. Lefebvre. She said the hospital had administered 4,325 booster shots as of Dec. 17, with high demand continuing.

“We’ve pretty much had a pretty constant stream of patients looking for booster appointments. They’ve basically been full since we started to do boosters and I don’t think it’s necessarily been impacted by [Omicron] specifically,” Ms. Lefebvre said. “We’ve been pretty booked-out for boosters for awhile now.”

Capacity at the Island hospital remains manageable, she said, with so far no need to cancel elective surgeries or take other measures. The hospital does very few elective surgeries where patients need to be admitted, Ms. Lefebvre said.

Wreath of thanks for volunteers. — Ray Ewing

“We’re keeping an eye on that,” she said, speaking about capacity, “and right now we’re okay.”

Ms. Valley said the recent distribution of at-home tests by the government, including on the Vineyard, will continue to ramp up in the coming weeks.

“The Oak Bluffs and Chilmark boards of health have received tests that are currently being distributed to eligible individuals Islandwide,” she wrote, adding: “Island Health Care, as a federally qualified community health center, will be ordering kits through the federal government for widespread Island distribution in partnership with the boards of health.”

She said the website for at-home testers is the result of a collaboration between Island Health Care and the boards of health. The website also contains isolation and quarantine guidance as well as contact information for the local boards of health.

Ms. Valley advised people traveling to the and from the Island for the holidays to take all available protective steps, including getting vaccinated and getting a booster, if eligible.

“Get tested before attending holiday gatherings. Wear masks when indoors at public places, in social setting with people outside of your immediate family or in congested areas where social distancing isn’t possible,” she wrote.

The TestMV site is now at the front of the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. The site will be closed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but will otherwise operate on a normal schedule from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The new website to log positive rapid test results is