By Shawn Cohen
A total of 63 people on Martha’s Vineyard have tested positive for Covid- 19 since former President Barack Obama‘s 60th birthday extravaganza last Saturday, more than any week since April.
However, health officials note it’s still too early to know whether the hundreds of guests and workers gathered for his weekend of maskless parties have contributed to the surge in cases.
‘At this time we’re not aware of any cases connected to the Obama party,’ Tisbury health agent and boards of health spokesperson Maura Valley told DailyMail.com. ‘It’s a little too early and the only way we’re going to know is through comprehensive contact tracing.’
Hundreds of people attended Obama’s birthday bash Saturday, flying in from around the country and congregating under tents where partiers danced, ate and drank the night away on his estate in Edgartown.
He gathered with friends Thursday at the Barn Bowl & Bistro, joined a larger kick-off celebration Friday at the luxury Winnetu Oceanside Resort.
Obama followed up his party with a brunch Sunday at Beach Road restaurant, dining under a specially-erected marquee beside the water in Vineyard Haven.
Martha’s Vineyard was already experiencing a new surge in cases when Obama, preparing to welcome 500 guests to his mansion, announced his party would be ‘scaled back’ amid criticism as the Delta coronavirus variant spread across the country.
In the week leading up to his party, 48 new cases were reported on the island through Saturday, double the prior week. The number of cases has risen every day since then, with six Sunday, seven Monday, 10 Tuesday, 13 Wednesday and 18 Thursday.
But despite the ex-president’s insistence that he had disinvited everyone but his family and close friends, 300 to 400 people showed up to his party, everyone from Jay Z and Beyonce to Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, a staffer working the event told DailyMail.com.
Many of the guests flew in by private jet and stayed in Edgartown, the center of the island’s COVID resurgence.
Several celebrities including Bradley Cooper checked in to the Harbor View Hotel where six staff members tested positive.
The Harbor View was among three new COVID clusters in Edgartown, along with the Alchemy Bistro & Bar with 14 cases, and Port Hunter restaurant with five, according to local health officials.
The latter two restaurants temporarily shut down, along with several other establishments including the historic Newes from America pub, the Wharf Pub and the Covington Restaurant in Edgartown.
Mask mandates have been reinstated at many bars and restaurants throughout the island.
Obama, however, insisted he was holding his guests and staff to a high standard.
A ‘coronavirus coordinator’ was hired to make sure the party was compliant with the most recent CDC guidance.
Attendees were required to take tests and submit their results to gain entry to the compound.
But some of the island’s residents scoffed at the measures to create a COVID-free zone, given that partygoers were circulating between various events and locations, in a town raging with a Delta strain that spreads quickly.
Even vaccinated individuals aren’t immune. Of the 48 people who tested positive last week, more than half were vaccinated, according to health officials.
‘I wouldn’t have gone to the party even if I was invited,’ one resident of Edgartown, who had a friend working at the party, told DailyMail.com.
‘I’m sure some attendees went home with some extra luggage they didn’t pack or see. Stay tuned.
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