Updated 7:20 pm
The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has confirmed its first hospitalization for a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a press release.
The hospital announced it had tested 51 patients in total.
The announcement comes after cases were confirmed in both West Tisbury and Tisbury, and as cases continue to rise rapidly across the state. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts reached 1,159 as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Department of Public Health.
Katrina Delgadillo, communications director for the hospital, said the hospital could not confirm the town in which a patient resides.
The West Tisbury board of health confirmed the second positive case of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
“The patient is under quarantine at their West Tisbury home and appears to be recovering,” a statement from the West Tisbury board of health reads. “The patient’s family and close contacts have been identified, and are in self-quarantine and taking all recommended precautions.”
No other identifying information is being released, to protect the patient’s privacy. The statement says the West Tisbury board of health is following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines for tracing and isolating close contacts to prevent further spread of the illness.
The second confirmed case came four days after a 50-year-old Tisbury man was confirmed to be the first case of COVID-19 on the Island.
A press release from the Tisbury board of health stated the man was in his home and “appears to be recovering.”
Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said the Tisbury man arrived on the Island via the Steamship Authority. “They took a freight boat and remained in their vehicle the entire trip,” Valley wrote in an email to The Times.
In a conference call with reporters Monday, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital CEO Denise Schepici — along with 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,” Schepici said. “We have limited medical resources. We are OK right now, but they are dwindling daily. We don’t have enough staff.”
A surge would happen if the number of patients ill or coming to the hospital exceeds the hospital’s capacity to treat those patients.
“We are preparing for an influx of positives,” Schepici said in part. “We know that we’ve had people traveling, 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.”
Updated to change headline. — Ed.