Hospital reports fourth COVID-19 case this month

Fourth case this month for hospital.

One new case at the hospital on Wednesday. — Kyra Steck
 Test MV/Drive-through siteMV HospitalOther/Boards of HealthAquinnahTotals
Total tests performed14325485028319458
Total negatives13805471727818800
Total pending494875586
Total confirmed positives26462074
Percentage positive of total tests performed.18%.95%.38%
Antibody tests, Off-Island tests, symptomatic positives2424
Total Cases (positive tests + antibody tests + symptomatic positives)98

Updated 5:10 pm

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital reported a new confirmed case of COVID-19 Wednesday — the hospital’s fourth reported case this month.

The hospital went the entire month of June without a new confirmed case, but went on to report nine cases in July, and now four in the first 12 days of August.

As of Wednesday, the hospital has tested 3,403 patients, with 41 positives, 3,278 negatives, and 84 pending results. Speaking to the reporters on a conference call Wednesday morning, hospital CEO Denise Schepici said she is concerned about the uptick in cases, but knew August would be a challenging month.

“I’m not surprised, it’s what we predicted would happen. I have a lot of concern about spread, and that’s why I keep sounding like a broken record,” Schepici said. “Please, please, please wear your mask, social distance, and take care.”

Chief nurse and operating officer Claire Seguin said the hospital is watching several metrics that might require the hospital to back off its reopening. For the past several months, the hospital has had no COVID-19 hospitalizations, but there were three COVID-19 patients transferred off-Island in April.

“ICU capacity and testing ability will be some really high indicators we may have to change things and go into surge mode again,” Seguin said. “Right now we’re doing well.”

If there’s a surge in cases, Seguin said the hospital is ready. “We are vigilant and watching, but we haven’t flipped that switch,” Seguin said.

With summer coming to an end and schools scrambling to establish reopening plans, Schepici said the hospital’s medical staff has been giving schools advice on how to reopen. “We’re available as a resource on supplies and cleaning protocols,” Schepici said. 

The hospital is testing children under the age of 18, but only if they meet the hospital’s testing criteria. Since March, the hospital has tested approximately 250 children. 

The criteria for testing at the hospital are a combination of people who are symptomatic and people who are asymptomatic that are in a high-risk category. There is provider discretion in ordering tests, but most people need to meet some part of the strict criteria.

Schepici also reminded people to continue seeking care and to not delay visits. She added that the hospital was recently rated 5/5 stars for patient experience from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The rating shows how well hospitals perform on average, compared with other hospitals across the country.

“This is a testament to the incredible care delivered by our clinicians, support staff, and every member of our team,” Schepici said.

The hospital’s new case marks eight new cases this month for the Island. 

On Tuesday, the TestMV site at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School reported three new cases. In total, the Test MV site has tested 8,869 patients with 19 positives, 8,034 negatives, and 816 tests pending. The TestMV site tests asymptomatic individuals, and is also open for retesting.

To help streamline test results, TestMV is using pool testing. Pool testing is when test samples are combined from several people and tested all at once to detect COVID-19. If a pooled test results in a negative, all samples can be presumed negative; if positive, all samples will need to be tested individually. This is helpful in an area such as Martha’s Vineyard, where the rate of positive tests is low.

“We have recently increased capacity through several lab innovations. These include the use of specimen pooling, which is now in place at three of our laboratories, and improvements in RNA specimen extraction. We have also expanded our lab referral network to include a half-dozen laboratories to facilitate greater access to COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing,” a statement on IHC’s website from Quest reads. “We now have capacity to perform 150,000 COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests a day. We expect to expand capacity further, to 185,000 tests per day by Labor Day, with further gains possible.”

According to a Tuesday press release from Quest, turnaround times for tests is now two to three days. This comes after some patients waited up to seven days or longer for test results.

While results will take longer for asymptomatic individuals, first responders and healthcare workers can continue to expect results within one to two days.

On Monday, the town of Aquinnah reported it has conducted 89 tests. All of those tests came back negative.

The MVH, the town of Aquinnah, boards of health, and TestMV, the testing site at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, each report their own testing numbers. Those numbers are then all compiled by the boards of health. The actual number of cases can be difficult to count due to lag time and overlaps in testing each day.

Of all the Island’s positive cases, 49 are no longer symptomatic, and have been released from isolation.

The boards of health have linked 23 of the confirmed cases to several cases among eight different household groups. 

Of the 60 confirmed cases, 37 are female and 23 are male. Of those, 17 of the cases are aged 50-59 years old, 13 are 20-29 years old, eight cases are 60-69 years old, seven are 30-39 years old, eight are 20 years old or younger, four are 40-49, and three are 70 years or older.

The boards of health are also reporting on probable cases. The Island’s total number of presumed positives is 20. Of those, 17 were positive antibody tests, and three were symptomatically positive.

Of the probable cases, 12 are female and eight are male. Of the 20 presumed positive cases, seven are aged 60-69, four are aged 50-59, three are aged 40-49, three are aged 20-29, two are under 20 years old, and one is over the age of 70.

The Island’s new cases this week follow an uptick in cases seen across the state. The state’s seven-day average number of positive COVID-19 cases — a key piece of data the state is following — is up 0.4 percent, to 2.1 percent.

At the state level Tuesday, there were 296 new confirmed cases, bringing the state total to 112,969. There were 10 new deaths, which brought the total number of deaths to 8,529. There have been 1,759,976 tests conducted across Massachusetts.


Updated to include current case numbers. — Ed.