Pre-employment and pre-camp testing for COVID-19 is not available at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital due to the limited number of tests.
Speaking to reporters during a weekly teleconference call, hospital CEO Denise Schepici said the hospital received a number of calls from people wanting tests before heading back to work or sending children to summer camp.
Schepici said the hospital has to follow the strict criteria for who can be tested.
“The domestic manufacturing is limited and it gets depleted very quickly,” Schepici said. “That’s why there’s strict criteria, that’s why we have to abide by the criteria.”
Chief nurse and chief operating officer said she didn’t have an exact number, but that a “decent amount of folks” had called the hospital wanting a test because they were heading back to work.
In total the hospital has tested 1,471 patients. Of those 28 have tested positive, 1,397 negatives, and 46 tests pending. It’s been almost four weeks since the hospital reported a new positive case. The hospital will also stop posting weekend updates on testing numbers and will only provide updates on numbers Monday through Friday.
The criteria for testing at the hospital frequently changes, but Seguin said it’s a combination of people who are symptomatic and people who are asymptomatic that are in a high risk category. While there is some provider discretion, allowing pre-employment and pre-camp testing would be too much for the hospital to handle.
While the hospital does not provide testing for people that are going back to work and don’t meet the criteria, Island Health Care (IHC) is offering testing to anyone who wants it. Set up at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School with the help of Quest Diagnostics, the community health center has tested more than 1,600 individuals, three of which have tested positive.
The hospital is also seeing an increase in the severity of patients coming to the ER, which Schepici says could be an indication that people are postponing care.
“Please come to see us if you have a health concern, putting off your care can cause complications and elevate conditions further. We’re here to care for you and we’ve created a safe environment to do so,” Schepici said. “Please don’t postpone your care.”
The hospital call center can be reached at 508-684-4500. New hours for the call center are Monday through Friday 8 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
There’s also been a bit of a baby boom on Martha’s Vineyard during the month of June. In total, the hospital expected 19 deliveries and as of Wednesday all but one of those babies has been delivered.
“Pretty exciting news, lots of new babies on the Island,” Seguin said.
Schepici also thanked the community for supporting the hospital, especially an anonymous donor and Mone Insurance employees who coordinated a meal delivery from the Art Cliff Diner for hospital staff.
“Thank you to everyone who has sent us meals, monetary donations. Thank you to those who offered your skills and time to help us and keep us safe and our patients safe,” Schepici said. “Having the community support us in these ways has made this pandemic that much easier for us to face everyday.”