Updated March 10 @ 10 am
A doctor at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is on voluntary quarantine after returning from a trip to Italy more than a week ago, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed by email.
“The doctor you are referring to never returned to MVH after his trip to Italy. We have a process in place at MVH, and he followed that process and is in self-quarantine,” Katrina Delgadillo, the hospital’s spokeswoman, wrote.
Italy has been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19, which is also known as novel coronavirus. Over the weekend, Italy imposed a quarantine of 16 million people in an effort to stop the spread of the respiratory virus. As of March 8, there have been 5,883 confirmed cases and 234 deaths in Italy, according to the World Health Organization.
In a follow-up email, Delgadillo added that the hospital has the ability to collect samples required for testing, but hospital physicians do not determine or authorize who may be tested. As of March 9, the hospital has collected samples for one coronavirus test.
No positive tests for COVID-19 have been conducted at the Island’s hospital, she wrote.
“At this time, only the Massachusetts state epidemiologist determines who requires testing and who does not,” Delgadillo wrote. “As of today, there have been no positive COVID-19 tests conducted through Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.”
Concerns about a spread on the Island have schools asking some students and teachers to stay at home. A teacher at the Charter School, a teacher at the Chilmark School, and a student at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School are all voluntarily self-quarantining for 14 days after returning from recent trips to Italy, according to school officials.
Meanwhile, the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School has canceled an upcoming student trip to Italy due to the increased concern of the spread of coronavirus, according to Charter School Director Pete Steedman.
The trip was canceled as Italy experiences widespread community transmission of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)has advised against all nonessential travel to the country. Steedman said the Charter School is looking at other possible trips for the students, but has not made a decision yet.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel coronavirus that has spread rapidly around the globe. Symptoms range from fever and coughing to shortness of breath, and usually appear two to 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets landing on another person in close contact with an infected person who coughs or sneezes. There is currently no vaccine. People who feel symptomatic should call ahead of their arrival at the hospital.
The trip, which included tours, flights, and other expenses, cost a few thousand dollars, according to Steedman, who could not immediately provide the exact number. The school is now working to recoup money that students paid. “We’re working hard to try and get it back,” Steedman said. “Our hope is to get as much back as possible.”
Meanwhile, some events around the Island are being canceled.
A performance to benefit children in Haiti has also been canceled at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center (PAC), according to Rick Bausman, leader of the band Tracing Infinity.
Bausman’s band was set to perform at the PAC along with a slew of other Island musicians, with the goal of sending 100 kids in Haiti to school for an entire year.
“We’re going to have to postpone the show,” Bausman said. “The school is trying to keep the space clean.”
Bausman met with Superintendent Matt D’Andrea Monday morning, and both agreed to postpone the show. Bausman said he is interested to see what happens after the two-week incubation period.
The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce canceled a Business After Hours event with Beach Road Weekend organizer Adam Epstein. The event was scheduled for Wednesday at the Loft in Oak Bluffs, but Epstein, Loft owner J.B. Blau, and Chamber of Commerce executive director Nancy Gardella decided to cancel the event.
Gardella told The Times in a phone conversation Monday that the decision was not made lightly.
“We very much appreciate the concerns happening on the Island and across the country, and we really want to be respectful of that, as does Adam,” Gardella said. The event will not be rescheduled.
No decisions have been made about future Chamber of Commerce events.
The Island Community Chorus has canceled its Monday night rehearsal due to concerns about COVID-19.
“In light of the growing COVID-19 situation and a CDC recommendation, and to err on the side of caution to maintain our membership in good health status, a board and leadership majority have decided that we are canceling rehearsal for tonight,” Butterick wrote. “We apologize for any inconvenience, and urge you to continue studying your music.”
Updated to include community chorus being canceled. -Ed.