Oak Bluffs: An up-close coronavirus experience

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— Shelby Regan

February 2021 is here with a confetti parade of snowflakes to announce its arrival. It is predicted that whatever little snow we get will soon be erased by a few days of rain. But as I sit watching it on this Monday morning while writing this week’s column, the snow is soft and a background of perfection for the cardinals, wrens, nuthatches, and woodpeckers that are gathering up more seeds from the porch feeder.

On Thursday last, because a member of my household was informed that someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus named him as a possible contact, we all, our household of eight, got tested. Not an easy job as you might suspect. Lo and behold, my 23-year-old grandson and myself were the only ones that tested positive. I am telling you this because I thought it might help others to understand the procedure. We called the hospital Thursday, told them a family member had been called by the board of health because they were named as a possible contact by a person who had tested positive. The hospital made an appointment for us. We drove up to the hospital to the tent erected by the flagpole to the left of the main entrance. We did not even have to get out of the car for the test. The test itself, I felt, was relatively painless. The nurse put a swab in one nostril and counted to three. That one just tickled a bit, then did the same for the second nostril. That one stung a little more, but not at all what I had expected. They are doing the rapid tests, so within an hour we had the results. We received an automatic response on our cell phones from the board of health telling us a contact tracer would be in touch with us soon to tell us the procedure and get names of everyone we had had contact with. In the meantime, we were all quarantined. I called the two people I had had contact with to inform them. Sure enough, I got called by a contact tracer. I almost didn’t get the information because I thought the out-of-state unfamiliar telephone number was a telemarketer so I hung up three times before he reached me. He gave us instructions and we are both quarantined until next Saturday and if we are still free of symptoms, then we are released. We feel so fortunate that so far neither of us have any symptoms and especially the “littles” my four great-grands that live with us were all negative. We miss their entertaining antics around the house as they moved to stay with relatives to stay healthy until we are all clear. I hope this helps you to better understand the procedures that are followed and perhaps remove some of the fears you might have regarding testing.

Please everyone stay healthy, wear masks, socially distance and stay kind and helpful to all.

We send condolences to the family and many friends of Dennis Redican who died last week. Dennis fought many battles over the years and helped lead so many people here to a better life. Oh, how he will be missed.

The Martha’s Vineyard Annual Collaborative Black History Month Event for 2021 will take place on Feb. 6 from 10 am until noon. Six Island organizations will feature a two-hour historical perspective panel discussion on Music, Art, and the Black Family. It will feature keynote speaker Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP, CITM. Panel itinerary is as follows: Welcome by Dr. Lorna Andrade, keynote address and multimedia presentation and questions and answers led by Carole Copeland Thomas. After a 10-minute break, speakers will be Heather Seger from the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, Allyson Malik of the Oak Bluffs library, Dr. Lorna Andrade NAACP of MV League of Women Voters of Mass., and Thelma Johnson, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The event is free and open to the public. Register online at bit.ly/2MsP7c0.

Due to increased COVID-19 infections, the Oak Bluffs town hall is closed to the public. You can still reach most of the various departments by phone and leave a message for them to return your call.

We send birthday smiles to Bella Pasqualino on Feb. 5, Kelly Pacheco on the 6th, Chloe Hoyt, Marc Rivers, and Sally Scott on the 7th, Adam Barmakian and George Valentas on Feb. 10, and Juanita Espino and Cody Pachico on the 11th.

Enjoy your week. Peace.

If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Megan Alley, meganislandmegan@comcast.net.