MVH doctor under self-quarantine after trip to Italy

Charter School cancels April trip to Italy; and concert at the PAC is also postponed.

An image of coronavirus from the CDC website.

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.


  1. Thank goodness. Two weeks ago, Italy had fewer cases of coronavirus than we in the U.S. have now, (about 500) and they were conducting similar health measures as we are now. Fast forward to today and Italy now has over 7000 cases with 366 deaths.

  2. While I do not condemn the Charter School’s decision, we need to get a sense of perspective about the Coronavirus. The 21st person in the United States just died from the Coronavirus while over 20,000 Americans have died so far this Winter from the seasonal flu.

    • It’s hard to get perspective when the Trump administration has repeatedly lied to us about containment and how to get tested, when tests are still not widely available. Best to listen to the medical experts, even if they’re guessing based on their educatioin. There are reports of chaos in the WH over how much to tell the public, which is the opposite of reassuring. I believe Dr. Fauci of the NIH though. I posted this elsewhere, but here’s a best guess scenario from the AHA:

      American Hospital Association “Best Guess Epidemiology” for #codiv19 over next 2 months:

      96,000,000 infections
      4,800,000 hospitalizations
      1,900,000 ICU admissions
      480,000 deaths

      vs flu in 2019:

      35,500,000 infections
      490,600 hospitalizations
      49,000 ICU admissions
      34,200 deaths

    • Islander- the point of quarantine and containment is to ensure that this doesn’t become as wide spread as the flu. The flu kills so many because containment is impossible. If you let this one get out of hand it will kill a lot more people and start competing with the flu. With rigorous control methods it’s possible that this virus can be eliminated before it takes strong root in the community.

  3. islander- there is a children’s story ( for grades 1- 8 ) about a king and a smart girl that asks for a single grain of rice on the first day of their agreement. Every day the king has to produce double the amount of rice of the preceding day for 30 days.
    there are variations, such as “the kings chessboard”
    Can you guess what happens ?

    It was less than 3 weeks ago that t rump assured us all that the 15 cases in the U.s would all go away in a week or so. Because he was such a great leader ,I guess.
    So where are we now ?
    We are stuck behind a bunch of idiots that are in full denial of yet another crisis .

  4. I would find it quite disturbing if either teacher has NOT actually been tested, but are only self quarantining.

    • tiz- there is a shortage of test kits. testing just because you were in a country that has a relatively high rate of infections would not be feasible.

    • Self-quarantine is all we have when there are not enough testing kits and labs, and the criteria for giving tests still remains too strict. A state like Alabama has zero cases because they’ve tested no one. Our hospital should tell the public if tests are available to all who present with flu-like symptoms or have likely been and want a test. My guess is, no. So, we have to self-quarantine.

Comments are closed.