35 tests, zero hospitalizations at hospital

Hospital to hold virtual town meeting.

The Martha's Vineyard Hospital has tested 46 people with zero hospitalizations. — Lexi Pline

Updated 5:35 pm

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has tested 35 patients for COVID-19, but has had zero hospitalizations to date, according to hospital CEO Denise Schepici. 

In a conference call with reporters Monday, Schepici — along with communications director Katrina Delgadillo and chief clinical and quality officer Claire Seguin — reiterated the message from the hospital’s parent company, Partners Healthcare, that because the Island has a lack of resources people who are coming from off-Island to “ride out the virus” should stay away.

“We have limited bed capacity, we are not a hospital that can handle a surge,” Schepci said. “We have limited medical resources. We are okay right now, but they are dwindling daily. We don’t have enough staff.”

On Sunday, the Steamship Authority released statistics that show increased activity. According to the data, compared with the first 15 days of March last year, there have been 264 additional vehicle trips to the Island with Massachusetts addresses and 102 additional vehicle trips by customers with New York or New Jersey addresses. Customers from other New England states, besides Massachusetts, were down 21.

A surge would happen if the number of patients ill or coming to the hospital exceeds the hospital’s capacity to treat those patients.

As of Monday, the number of confirmed cases in Massachusetts has jumped to 777, according to the Department of Public Health.

“We are preparing for an influx of positives,” Schepici said in part. “We know that we’ve had people travelling, we know that we’ve had people not self-quarantining, we know that before we really got the word out people were not taking us seriously. And we’ve had a positive patient who had a lot of community contact so, yes, we expect this to get worse. So does the whole state.”

On Wednesday, the hospital will shut-down the building to all non-clinical staff. Staff allowed in the building will be required to wear masks. Employees will have a separate entrance from the triage tent set up out front.

People wishing to donate supplies to the hospital such as masks and gowns are asked to email mvhgiving@partners.org to coordinate intake and drop-off.

Officials with Partners have also asked for National Guard resources to help protect hospital staff. If there was a surge, Schepici said, the Island’s limited number of law enforcement and hospital staff would not be able to protect hospital employees. 

“To help us with logistics and to help us with some of the security needs we might have. They can help us set up tents, they can help us with crowd control. It’s just not something my employees can withstand if they’re trying to care for patients.”

Schepici commended hospital staff for working hard and keeping people safe, but said everyone is nervous about a potential community spread of COVID-19.

“Everybody is really nervous about increasing numbers and spread,” Schepici said. “It’s a very concerned workforce and yet they come in every day…they’re standing at the frontlines ready to get this thing.”

As far as setting up a shelter elsewhere, Seguin said that is in official’s minds, but for now, the hospital is focused on making sure there is space at the current hospital. Patients with COVID-19 are treated as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) patients, a treatment protocol that hospital staff are “well-versed in.”

The hospital will be holding a virtual town meeting on Wednesday, March 25, at 2 pm on the COVID-19 crisis. The public can access the town meeting through MVTV on channel 13 or online at mvhcoronavirus.com. The login information for the website is Password: guest and email: guest@mvh.org.


The hospital previously reported it conducted 46 tests, but has changed that to 35. Included information on virtual town meeting. — Ed.


  1. Do we know if the results have come back from all 35 cases? I understand there are no hospitalizations, but that doesn’t mean everyone tested was negative, correct?

    • In fairness to the hospital, there is a process. They take the sample, but do not perform the test. It is sent to a lab. The lab then notifies the DPH, which notifies the local board of health. You can question the process, but the hospital is following the same protocol as other hospitals and testing sites.

  2. Please consider this thought when going crazy. Would you behave differently if there were 35 positive results? How about 100? The answer should have been that you would behave the same before the first case was announced and after any subsequent cases are announced. I get it you are all freaked out. Please think about the kids who will read all these stories and posts. Then think about the parents who spend all night fixing their kids In order to go forward the next day. Words have consequences. Please don’t forget this simple concept.

  3. I just want to say THANK YOU to the hospital and its leadership – for their transparent and direct communications throughout this crisis; for their unrelenting professionalism in the face of the unknown; and for their obvious concern for their staff and any patient who may be forced to walk through their doors. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Everything they are doing, they are doing for us.

  4. I hope our hospital has a contingency plan if many show up in near respiratory failure like Italy. Where will u ship the excess patients? Is there time?

  5. Good day, all. As I understand it, it is mandated reporting all corona virus cases. If everyone had hunkered down immediately, instead of being selfish, we would be further along to getting this country back and functioning. We all know that this isolation program cannot continue indefinitely. We cannot do this to future generations. Bite the bullet, do what is necessary and get on with it. My opinion and my best to all.

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