Maternity patient one of 12 confirmed cases

Hospital still expects a surge in COVID-19 between now and the end of the month.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed to 17 Tuesday. — Lexi Pline.

Updated April 15

Of the 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Island, three patients who are “quite sick” have all been transferred to Boston for treatment, including one maternity patient, according to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital officials.

Speaking to reporters during a teleconference call Tuesday morning, hospital CEO Denise Schepici and chief nursing and operations officer Claire Seguin said one of the transfers was a maternity patient.

The Times previously confirmed two other COVID-19 patients had been transported off-Island via Boston MedFlight. The maternity patient was transferred by land. Hospital officials did not give specific dates on the transfers, but did say they have taken place over the last three weeks.

While MVH does have three ICU beds, Seguin said the hospital is preparing for a surge. Part of that planning is keeping the ICU beds empty in the event more patients are admitted to the hospital.

“Each case is kind of a bit different, but the general principle is ICU-level care patients will get transferred whenever possible,” Seguin said.

Seguin added that the hospital is keeping track of those transfer patients.

“We have to keep privacy as well as we always do, but I will say they were quite sick, the folks that went off-Island. They’re not out of the weeds yet,” she said.

It’s been one week since the hospital confirmed a new positive case of COVID-19, but Schepici said that Partners Healthcare, the hospital’s parent company, has said they are still one or two weeks away from a peak hospitalization. She stressed the importance of social distancing, proper hand washing, staying home, and wearing masks out in public and said people should not be “falsely lulled” by the low number of 12 cases.

“Especially now as these numbers make us want to feel complacent. Our message continues to be, if you don’t need to be on the Island we ask you to stay where you are,” Shecpici said. “You’ve seen our numbers and they may appear low, but the truth is COVID-19 is here on our Island. There are Islanders who innocently do not know they are carrying the virus. We call those individuals asymptomatic. And those who are asymptomatic can be spread just as quickly as a person who has symptoms.”

Schepici said there will be ebbs and flows with COVID-19, similar to the H1N1 virus in 2009 that spread through June, went away for a few months, then came back with a “vengeance” in September.

For the past week, the hospital has had no new positive cases of COVID-19. The hospital has taken samples for 213 tests — 12 positive, 191 negative, and 10 pending results. No patients are currently being hospitalized.

Of those 12 confirmed cases, seven are female and five are male. Six of the cases are aged 50-59 years old, two cases are 60-69 years old, two are 30-39 years old, and two are 20-29 years old.

Of the negative tests, Schepici said the majority of people who are being tested are members of the public with slightly more females than males. Since the symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath, Schepici said the people testing negative could have another fever or a cold.

The hospital is also in communication with the Island’s boards of health who are checking in on patients that tested positive for COVID-19, but are staying at home. 

Tisbury health agent and Island board of health spokesperson Maura Valley told The Times in an email Tuesday that to the best of her knowledge those people at home are recovering.

“The health agents or our public health nurse contact them periodically during their quarantine period until the point they are released from quarantine,” Valley wrote.

At the state level on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 1,296 new cases for a total of 28,163. There were 113 new deaths reported bringing the state’s total to 957. The state has tested 126,551 people.

We’ve updated the photo after learning the patient was brought off-Island in a private vehicle. -ed.


  1. Thank you for keeping us updated on the details. I hope she and her baby will be okay soon, along with everyone else who is suffering from this. The hospital seems to be as prepared as possible, and I greatly appreciate their professionalism.

  2. As of yesterday, there were only 222 tested. That’s a tiny fraction of the island population. People with symptoms are not routinely tested, so we don’t know how many cases there are on island. And 3 hospitalizations out of 12 confirmed cases is a high rate: 1/4. How many of the 222 people tested work at the hospital or in healthcare? How about Windemere? Were these patients part of the 222 tested count? Sincere gratitude for all the heroes working on the frontline.

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