Two Island patients are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 and a third was emergency airlifted to a Boston hospital late last night as coronavirus cases continue to surge at record rates on Martha’s Vineyard, hospital leaders said Wednesday morning.

In a press briefing, officials blamed much of the recent spread on the holidays and cautioned that consequences could be severe if people continued to flout social distancing and travel rules. The Island reported a record 79 cases last week, and likely has more than 100 active patients being contact-traced.

“These numbers are absolutely numbing,” hospital president and CEO Denise Schepici said at the briefing Wednesday morning. “Unfortunately, as we move deeper into the winter months, we are seeing no letup in the pandemic and the spread of the virus.”

The recent case surge comes just as the hospital has kicked its vaccination process for staff and high risk priority groups into full gear, and as Covid-19 numbers continue to climb nationally and statewide.

On the Island, the impacts of the virus’s spread have already been severe. A patient who was readmitted for Covid-19 in fair condition last Tuesday remains hospitalized, officials confirmed Wednesday morning. The patient has been in the hospital for more than a week now, and remains in fair condition.

The patient was the first Covid-19 re-admission at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital since the pandemic began. Hospital officials have not disclosed the date of the patient’s original admission or discharge. But they said Wednesday that patients generally stopped being contagious 14 days after showing symptoms, regardless of whether symptoms or a patient’s respiratory condition worsened.

“Generally, someone’s readmitted when there’s been an exacerbation of what they were admitted for in the first place,” Ms. Schepici said.

A second patient was hospitalized last night, hospital head of operations and chief nurse Claire Seguin said Wednesday. The patient is also in fair condition.

Late Tuesday night, hospital officials also confirmed that a third patient had been transferred via Medflight helicopter to a Boston hospital. The patient was in serious condition, Ms. Seguin reported.

The emergency transfer on Tuesday night represents the Island’s fourth Medflight since the pandemic began, hospital officials estimated on Tuesday. Two patients have been transferred, including one in critical condition, during the fall and winter, and two patients were previously transferred in April of 2020.

Meanwhile, Nantucket, which has a slightly smaller hospital than the Vineyard, has had 17 Covid-related transfers since the pandemic began. Nantucket also has seen higher case numbers than the Vineyard, with 996 positive Covid-19 tests compared to the Vineyard’s 668.

Ms. Schepici said she had discussed the discrepancy with Nantucket Cottage Hospital CEO Gary Shaw. Nantucket’s hospital has the same Covid-19 transfer protocol as the Vineyard hospital.

“They have one town, and sort of one epicenter. The density of the population is more concentrated, so maybe that has something to do with it,” Ms. Schepici said. “It’s also a lot of people traveling back and forth, is what I heard. And we know that is what really spiked our own numbers. It’s people disregarding the guidance. The holiday travel has caused a surge, both here and on Nantucket.”

Ms. Schepici forcefully emphasized the need to continue to practice social distancing and to use caution regarding travel, and denounced those who continued to disregard state and municipal rules, including quarantine and testing requirements.

“I don’t know what else to say, except, we are in a surge, because some just refuse to do what most of us are doing: making sacrifices to remain compliant and to stop this spread,” Ms. Schepici said. “We need to do this now, more than ever, as we try to focus our efforts on turning the corner to focus on vaccination. But this war is not over yet.”