Martha’s Vineyard COVID cluster linked to wedding on island; Event violated out-of-state travel restrictions, officials say

A cluster of at least eight coronavirus patients on Martha’s Vineyard has been linked to a wedding held on the island earlier this month that flew in the face of COVID-19 health guidelines, according to news outlets.

According to Martha’s Vineyard Boards of Health, the viral respiratory infection was spread by wedding guests who left the island the morning after the event, NECN reported.

Eight people linked to the wedding went on to test positive for coronavirus, six of whom remain in isolation on the island, according to the news outlet.

“Contact tracers have reached out to the individuals connected to this event to advise them of their exposure and their need to quarantine and be tested. We continue to investigate in the hopes of preventing any further spread associated with the event,” Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said in a press release, according to the Vineyard Gazette.

Valley told the newspaper four of the eight people who tested positive were workers involved with the wedding, while the other four individuals were guests.

Two of the eight positive cases have been released from isolation. Another two have been referred to off-island health officials, and the other four remain in quarantine, according to the Gazette.

The Oct. 11 wedding, which was held both indoors and outdoors, did not violate any restrictions surrounding gathering sizes. However, Valley told the newspaper, some attendees did not abide by out-of-state travel rules.

Orders from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s office requires travelers from 40 other states to quarantine for 14 days after arriving to the Bay State or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test at most three days before their arrival.

Visitors coming from lower-risk states are exempt from the travel restrictions. As of Oct. 14, those states were California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Washington state. The Washington, D.C. is also excluded.

Guests at the wedding on Martha’s Vineyard apparently violated those travel rules, though they were not fined, as health officials only discovered the outbreak after they had left the state, the newspaper reported.

“As far as I can tell, individuals came to the wedding without following the appropriate travelers’ guidance,” Valley told the Gazette. “The individuals involved with that had already left. So I don’t believe anybody was fined as a result of it because, unfortunately, with this type of thing, you find out about it after the fact when people start testing positive.”

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