Four COVID patients hospitalized, two in ICU

Pediatric patient sent off-Island in serious condition as new COVID cases continue to rise.

Martha's Vineyard Hospital has four patients hospitalized, including two in the ICU.

Updated 11:40 am 

There are four patients hospitalized with COVID-19 — two in serious condition in the intensive care unit (ICU) — at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday morning, Hospital president and CEO Denise Schepici and chief nurse and chief operating officer Claire Seguin told The Times this is the most hospitalizations the hospital has had at one time since the beginning of the pandemic. Of the other two hospitalized patients, one is in fair condition and the other is in good condition. Additionally, a pediatric patient with COVID was transferred off-Island in serious condition.

Schepici said the hospital is using all its available resources to get vaccines into people’s arms 

“We know the vaccine is your best defense, and especially wearing a mask,” Schepici said.

The hospital does not release the vaccination status of patients to the press. However, according to statistics gathered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 88,968 vaccinated individuals have been infected with COVID-19 since December 2020. Of those, 96.7 percent were never hospitalized.

Of the 52 patients that have been hospitalized at the Island’s hospital since January, 72 percent had not received a vaccine.

Schepici said there are contingency plans in place should the hospital fill up with patients, but for now the hospital has enough resources.

“Right now we have beds, we do mostly outpatient surgeries, we haven’t had to reduce surgeries, they don’t impact our bed situation. We have a surge plan should we get inundated with admissions,” she said.

The Island is seeing a spike in new cases. Last week’s 112 new cases was the most reported in one week in 2021. This week the Island has had 29 new COVID cases — 12 on Sunday, seven on Monday, and 10 on Tuesday.

“This spike is of great concern,” Schepici said. “This is the greatest number of positive cases we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic.”

Schepici said the issue is being felt across the state, as patients requiring hospital care have doubled in the last month. 

The hospital has sent two samples to be tested for the omicron variant, which is known to be in Boston.

“In Boston the situation in a word is dire. Hospital beds are not only filling up with COVID patients, but those that require other urgent care like chronic or other ongoing care,” Schepici said.

Seguin noted that last Friday marked one year since the hospital administered its first doses of the COVID vaccine to frontline hospital workers.

The hospital will be increasing its appointment availability. The drive-through testing site is getting expanded hours on Mondays and Wednesdays until 7 pm. There are plans for Saturday appointments to administer vaccines once the hospital has the staff to do so. Appointments will also be added for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 17.

The hospital is also continuing to partner with the vaccine bus to give people another option to get vaccinated.

“We are firing on all cylinders. We have vaccines, they are not scarce,” Schepici said. “Make your appointment and we’ll be sure to get you a shot.”

The hospital has administered over 34,000 COVID vaccines —1 4,934 first doses, 15,044 second doses, and 4,554 booster doses.

The hospital plans to administer 370 more vaccines this coming week which will include first, second, and booster doses. 

The hospital is also working with the boards of health and Island Health Care to get free test kits into Islander hands. 

The Martha’s Vineyard boards of health and Island Health Care have created a new website to help track positive test results from at-home COVID tests.

As at-home rapid COVID tests become more widely available, helps track cases with an easy to use interface. 


Updated with more information from conference call with hospital — Ed. 


  1. Vaccination status? Age? Pre-existing medical conditions? Obese? Heathy? Co-morbidities?

    All of these details would be incredibly important to disclose before pumping out an article hoping to entice panic.

        • Not if they are named, but the public has a right to facts, such as the percentage of vaccinated people who wind up in hospitals compared to un-vaccinated.

          • Why, Scott? A right to what? And what difference would it make to you or to anyone? We know 72% of island hospitalizations since January have been among unvaxed— would knowing a hospitalized individual’s status now change the need to take recommended precautions? Of course not. Insisting on specific vaccination status or if there are underlaying medical conditions seems more like an interest in disregarding recommendations—or else a way to get on the “see, vaccines don’t work” train. What percentage of vaxed vs unvaxed determines anyones behavior regarding masks and boosters? We now know boosters/3rd shot especially do help with omicron. Now with omicron there are more breakthrough cases, particularly among those with compromised immune systems. So pay attention to what you can do not to contract or spread disease. Get boosted if you haven’t already. Wear a good mask in public. We also don’t know how many cases there actually are now, anyway, since positive at home test results may not be reported at all.
            May those who are ill make a full and quick recovery.

          • Without factual data to make our own important decisions (Thank God we live in a country where we are mostly free to do that), we would end up, well, where we are today.

          • Scott, you have all the factual data you or any sane person needs– from expert sources all over the world– that should have led everyone who is medically eligible to make the important decision to get vaxed quite a while ago. But by listening to idiots like Trump who early on discouraged the need for vaccines, (now reversed that stance) against the advice of all reputable medical experts, and by doing what some dopes call “reseach” (watching lunatics on YouTube videos), we do indeed have the situation this country is in right now.

          • The hospital is a private entity.
            You have no rights to their data.
            Their data base is so small tht individuals can be identified.
            Imagine the shame a family feels when an unvaccinated relative dies of Covid.

          • Quote: “Scott Terry December 24, 2021 At 8:35 am
            Without factual data to make our own important decisions (Thank God we live in a country where we are mostly free to do that), we would end up, well, where we are today.”

            Scott, you do not require personal information about those hospitalized, you already made your decision.

    • Jason– there were 112 cases on island last week. That’s in the winter population.
      The article states that in 2021 , there were 52 hospitalizations — 72 % were unvaccinated.
      Of the 112 cases last week, 12 were under 10 years old, and 5 were over 70.
      The other 95 were between 11 and 69.

      Why do you ask about existing conditions or weight ?
      You can look up the statistics about that on the CDC site.
      I wonder how many of them are covid denying trump supporters–

      And just who do you think is “hoping to entice panic”
      What kind of asininely stupid comment is that ?
      Do you really think that someone wants to “entice panic” ?
      Why would some one do that?
      Are you so paranoid that you think that if panic ensues, it will give the big bad socialist government ae excuse to take a way your guns or some other equally asinine conspiracy theory?
      Do you think the editors at the Times want panic ? The hospital staff ?
      It’s disgusting that you publicly spew this claptrap, and that the editor prints it.
      Go pedal your conspiracy theories on a right wing hate site, and let reasonable people have a reasonable discussion here.

      Regardless of their weight, age, or pre existing conditions I hope they all come out of it with no long term health issues. Their lives matter.
      And may we all eat an extra helping of Pasta to help them recover and support our hospital staff.

      • You’re the farthest thing from reasonable.

        Stop bringing politics into this. I asked a simple question, you went off on a wild tangent because you can’t come up with a real response.

        You’re a one trick pony show and it’s getting old.

        • Jason–I think I answered your questions about as well as one could.
          So let me clarify if you couldn’t understand my answer.
          About 72 % are unvaxxed.
          I listed the ages according to the times information
          Some people have existing conditions– And some of those people
          can’t get vaxxed because of those conditions, which is why we
          should try to prevent the spread of this disease.
          Some people are obese.
          And some people have co- morbidities.
          Any more questions ?????
          So please answer my question– Who specifically is “hoping to entice panic” and why ? Pretty simple questions. Try to keep politics out of it.
          And let me offer you some unsolicited advice.
          If you don’t answer those simple questions , people, (such as myself) will think that you have some sort of crazy conspiracy theory as to why someone wants to entice panic. Who knows what some people might think ? Given some of the wild things people are claiming surrounding covid, the sky is the limit..
          We already have people thinking that Bill Gates has put microchips in the vaccine, that the vaccine is being put in salad dressing, and that it has aborted fetal cells in it. Some people even think that Jewish billionaires are setting fires in California with lasers from space.
          Better to explain yourself with some rational thought process rather than just attack me –Otherwise ,some people might think the worst about you and your motives.
          I hope you have a nice Christmas .

          • Don I implore you to do your homework.

            Vaccine, masks and social distance. All everyone talks about.

            How about eating healthy? Exercising? Getting your body right to fight a virus with an incredibly high survival rate for those who take care of themselves. It is so sad that people believe shutting down the country will create a Covid zero environment. This island is a small blip on the map, the entire country is getting back on its feet and not moving backwards.

            We have treatments, vaccines and now a pill to fight this. The push for mandates needs to end. It’s unconstitutional.

            And I’ll tell you what. The left is doing themselves a major disservice by pushing this agenda. Look at the numbers Don, wait til the mid terms. Everyone is sick and tired of being told what to do and it’s finally showing in the polls.

          • I think the question are was directed toward the hospital, and, by inference, to the Times and the reporters reporting this story. They should be asking more questions and digging for more specific information.

            Not directed to fellow commenters, who don’t know any more than the guy who asked the questions.

            Especially not one who thinks “You must be a Trump supporter” is relevant!

          • Katherine– I do not see a comment here that includes the line “You must be a Trump supporter” .
            Was that posted on some other thread recently ?
            While I do not read every comment on every thread, I do not recall ever reading that on any post.
            Are you sure you have that quote correct ?
            I have noticed that some people are prone to misquoting others.
            Interestingly enough, it is my unscientific observation that people who misquote others most often seem to have right wing ideologies, and are often very open about their support for trump. That is especially true with fox news and our very own Andy, who often misquotes me.

            Not that that is relevant.

          • Jason: The omicron variant has been ranked second only to measles in transmissibility, we have yet to learn how severe the effects. COVID-19 survivors have experienced multiorgan effects and/or autoimmune conditions. Multiorgan effects can affect many or all body systems, including heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain functions. But if it’s only a minor effect, then okay, right?

        • Jason there is nothing more political than Covid.
          You simply asked questions that you have no right for getting the answers to.
          If the number of Covid patients were over 100 then the answers would be important for making public health decisions for the Island.
          Like mandating vaccine and masks.
          I am comfortable assuming that at least 50% of the people admitted were unvaccinated.
          How about you?
          in the rest of the country it is more like 80%

          • Jason, the country is not shutting down, nor have I seen anyone suggest such a plan. The entire reason it’s important to wear masks and get the vaccine is that the U.S. opened back up. Long ago. You’re coming into close contact with many others on a daily basis. So is everyone else. It’s sensible to take a few easy steps towards making those interactions as harmless as possible. Those are the very measures that will prevent future restrictions.

            Doctors do address lifestyle factors with their patients individually. Still, nutritious food and exercise, while recommended, are not cures for COVID. Elderly people are very high risk. Diet won’t eliminate this. There are some pre-existing conditions linked to poor COVID outcomes that remain unaltered no matter what the patient does. That’s often the reality of living with an ongoing medical issue, and yet there’s never a shortage of criticism and assumptions from those who are unfamiliar.

            Survival isn’t the only goal. People — even some in previously good health — have become ill from COVID and ended up with longterm problems that continue to impact their jobs and quality of life. This occurs much more frequently than skeptics will acknowledge. The solution just isn’t as simple as you’re making it out to be. There are many aspects to juggle when taking millions into consideration at once.

            I have no interest in anyone’s identity here, but it seems obvious that you’ve posted before as Bart Conroy. It was impossible not to notice. I don’t think folks owe you their private health information when you won’t stand by your words. Let’s just do what’s been shown to work and keep an eye out for the community while going about our lives. It’s not an either/or issue.

        • Thank you, Jackie! I hope you’ve had a great holiday season, too. 🙂❄️

          May we have fewer reasons to pull our hair out in 2022. lol

        • Carlos –My point is that I am sick of idiots promoting asinine conspiracy theories that are contributing to the deaths of thousands of my fellow Americans.
          Sorry if you are confused about that.
          How can I make it clearer ?

      • well I think the point this gentleman is trying to make is that if you’re young and otherwise healthy, who cares ? no worries ! Because you’ll be fine. And who gives a F about anyone else.

    • Much of this information you want the hospital would be breaking the HIPPA laws if they furnish it. All health information, even the fact one has seen a doctor is protected info.

        • Your response to R Scott Paterson is false.
          If the numbers are so small that a person can be identified then the numbers may not be released.
          Personally I would like to know if the two people on ventilators were fully vaccinated.
          I have no right to know.

          • Albert– Being in the ICU does not mean being on a ventilator.
            The article does not state that anyone in intubated.
            I agree with you– none of us has the right to know.
            Your comment on Dec 23 4:23 says it all perfectly.

    • Jason, why are these things important to you?
      Would you use this data to make a vaccination decision?
      Or decide to eat less……..

    • The impression is you hope to learn of other health issues so you can minimize the effect of Covid and the anti mask and vaccine crowd won’t feel encumbered by being courteous and respectful of other people. I don’t see need for further elaboration because that’s it in a nutshell.

    • Completely agree.

      The public needs , wants, and, actually should demand more specific information for each case of Covid-19:

      Which variant? Exact inoculation status? Age? Comorbidities?

      How and under what circumstances transmitted.

      The taxpayers are being heavily burdened with the fallout of covid-19.
      We deserve to be well and reliably informed, and not to be dissed or challenged when we ask for more specific information.

      • You have been well and reliably informed. We all have. This paper has written countless articles concerning COVID. Some folks are even angry that they continue to run these stories at all. Can’t please everybody.

        They have already provided facts about vaccine status and age. As a legal matter, hospitals are not required to give out endless personal details on each patient’s health to the public, even if you demand them. That’s not how medicine, law, or life works.

        If you have concerns about comorbidities, please speak with your own doctor and take precautions.

      • Katherine, that’s quite a list of demands from someone who refused to acknowledge the importance of getting vaccinated if you are medically eligible. You’ve been given all the information available from the best expert sources in the world, and yet you were against Howes House elderly center mandating vaccines for all staff and wrote at least one letter to the editor of this newspaper maintaining that “there are a number of reasons for not accepting synthetic mRNA inoculations, including medical and religious”. What other “reasons” besides medical and the most obscure religious excuses that always happen to fall apart when questioned could there possibly be? Demanding to know the vax status of 4 private individuals hospitalized with covid is what anti-vaxers, conspiracy theorists, and selfish individuals seem to glom onto to excuse their lack of rational thought and responsible civic behavior about getting their vaccines.

    • Of course the obvious next question is:

      Why release any of these covid figures at all?

      Why release gross totals with none of the relevant details?

      What is the point?

      Why not also release figures on all of those in hospital for flu, pneumonia, and other illnesses?

      Those figures are also relevant.

    • Ditto. Thanks for saying it, and reminding us all of our connectedness. If more of us could think of ourselves as members of a ‘community’ that we belong to, need to foster and protect, would it change thinking about getting vaccinated? It does seem unfair that some refuse the vaccine but feel no responsibility about putting health care workers at risk when they do get sick.

  2. 72% of all hospitalizations have been unvaccinated, says the hospital. All over the country, the majority of hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated. All science points to the benefits of getting vaxed and boosted. That’s what everyone needs to know. The vaccine/booster status of individual patients in our hospital is irrelevant. Get vaccinated and boosted, wear a good mask in public, and test before you gather for the holidays.

  3. Was transported to MV Hospital this week in a Tisbury Ambulance. Quick and efficient service from the medical ambulance staff etc. thanks for the great service, Harland Gibbs

  4. I know the MV Times is not trying to “entice” panic. I’m fairly sure they’re not trying to incite panic, either.

  5. There’s no HIPPAA violation unless the patient’s name or other personal identifying information is released. Demographic info like age, pre-existing conditions [without specifying which one(s)] and vaccination status is extremely helpful to the general community on a public health basis. This type of info is routinely released by public health authorities. In some parts of the country at least 70-90% of those hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated but eligible for a vaccine. Info like that hopefully gets more people vaccinated, which is something that’s critically needed to get this under control. If that doesn’t work, the government should consider barring insurance coverage for COVID treatment to the willfully unvaccinated.

    • It’s HIPAA.

      “pre-existing conditions [without specifying which one(s)]”

      Isn’t that precisely what some commenters are looking for? Specifics? Did you note all of the information Jason would like about these patients? Very intrusive. Our hospital is a HIPAA-covered entity. Medical history is subject to the Privacy Rule, hence the replies.

      Per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

      “Individually identifiable health information is information, including demographic data, that relates to the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition.”

      Expectations need to be adjusted. The other day, there was a letter to the editor from someone seeking the names of local COVID patients. Names are one of 18 identifiers classified as PHI (protected health information) under the law. These demands are usually coupled with condemnation of the media for a lack of transparency or hidden agenda. Newspapers can only report what is accessible.

      We already know vaccines are helpful and that certain underlying conditions are worrisome. I don’t agree that finding out our neighbors have diabetes, for example, would convince anyone else to finally comply with official advice. Not when there’s currently a wealth of available research online for those open to considering it.

      What would be the benefit of learning about unspecified comorbidities? If anything, I believe this would encourage skeptics who are currently in good health to assume they will remain that way without effort. They will look for how they differ from those hospitalized, not for what they have in common.

      At any rate, “[2020] HIPAA updates do not require healthcare organizations to share data with the press or other parties outside of federal agencies.”

    • When you are talking about six patients there is no way to hide their identify
      The Island is a very small place.
      Islanders have have pretty much decided to vax, or not.
      These six patients vax status is not going to change minds.

  6. In the face of all the facts and science behind it, it boggles the mind to think that people are so hesitant. And kudos to Don Keller for speaking his truth!

  7. Good morning. Stepping in to let you know that we’ll only be moderating comments twice a day for the next several days as our staff gets some much needed time off. We ask you to adhere to our rules of engagement. We will be particularly ruthless during this holiday season in deleting comments that don’t follow our rules. If you’ve made a comment and it didn’t get posted, it means you didn’t follow the rules. (Most likely calling another commenter a name.) Try again. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and play nice.

    • Oh, thank you, George. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and all the diligent, hard-working staff of the MV Times. May 2022 be better for all of us.

    • Yes, George, you guys really deserve a few days off – and thanks for offering this amazing opportunity for community conversation – the issues are so important, and the opinions are so strong, and so opposite, and we are crashing. For those who see the truth unfolding, and who care, it has become a full-time job to try to stop the continuing destruction of everything. The level of ignorance is deeply disturbing. The Coal King killed our hopes for significant money from Fed and State to forge ahead with solar-greening everything.
      The way things are going, we, our Island Community, need to do what we need to to do in order to be able to survive through the coming prolonged grid black-out. All it will take is a few more satellite collisions, and everything stops, everything, including water. This is what the current Climate Action Committees are all about.
      So now we need to figure out some clever community-based ways to finance all the solar-greening that we can and need to do – the best combination of sufficient profit for investors and lowest interest on loans – and the savings by going solar-green will be more than the cost of the loan! (Unless we make stupid mistakes, like the Tisbury School).
      On the Vineyard, we are blessed with numerous people who have more money than they need, and some of them will be happy to invest in this endeavor, helping our community to build for survival, while earning enough profit and also a much deserved halo.
      Let’s breathe in deeply this blessed Vineyard air, with gratitude and good will, and lets forge ahead doing what needs to be done. Let’s make 2022 much much much better!
      And please remind us of the rules re Comments – thanks.

    • George, are you trying say that you refuse to publish comments that violate your sense of your rules?
      That sounds like a violation of the Constitution.
      We all have the right to be heard.
      Wherever and whenever we want.

      Thank you for your service to the community.
      You are such a gentleman, particularly when it comes to brickbats tossed your way.

      • Why do some people think the 1st Amendment applies to private entities?
        The MV Times is not the government. The 1st Amendment prevents the government from limiting your right to free speech. It is not relevant here in the least.
        I wish the comment section allowed for laugh reacts similar to those found on social media. Yes, I am laughing at you, Albert.

        • Yes I am laughing at you, Jim.
          I find people with out the sarcasm gene to be amusing.
          Please relax and reread my comment.

  8. George– Thank you for stepping in here so I can ask you directly — Are you trying to entice panic ? If so, why ?
    I hope you and the staff at the Times have some quality time off. You all deserve it.. Especially the moderators on this forum.
    And Merry Christmas !!!
    I’m so happy I can say that again since you know who won the war against you know what !
    And also,
    Peace, Love and Pasta…

  9. Thanks, and holiday warmth to George, and all the staff there. “Rules of engagement” made me chuckle. It makes it sound like a war, an un-civil, non-meeting of minds. I hope we can not let you down. Play nice, indeed.

  10. Ditto on the Appreciation to you George Brennan and your staff for diligent and courageous reporting. Merry Christmas to All and Happy New Year 2022!

  11. Conservative Republicans who still need to whine about social responsibility and a relatively minuscule ask (vaccines, masks, social distancing) really need a lesson from a murdered Jewish girl. Being a considerate and responsible citizen is not comparable to what it’s like to lose freedom. Likening sensible precautions to “panic” is ridiculous. It’s all about perspective, and whiners here have a distorted and selfish sense of personal entitlement and what exactly is irrational.

    “Believe me, if you’ve been shut up for a year and a half, it can get to be too much sometimes. But feelings can’t be ignored no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem. I long to dance, whistle, ride a bike, look at the world, feel young and know that I’m free, and yet I can’t let it show”. ~from Anne Frank’s diary, December, 1943

    Imagine, Anne Frank, really still a child, thought her feelings of really being shut in were unjust and showed a lack of gratitude. AK/JS and AE

  12. Hi Jackie, are you referring to me by initials?
    A few salient points.
    I am vaccinated and I think anyone with common sense should do the same.
    I did not vote for Trump in 2016 or 2020 and will not in 2024.
    I comply with all sensible mask requirements.

    I am not opposed to sensible public health precautions. I am in favor of consistent, science-based measures. I am opposed to excessive fear-mongering and distortion of the actual risk of Covid, which there are multiple examples of. Kindly refer to the article by the New York Times- I assume you will see this as a reasonable news source and not fringe.

    Please don’t make assumptions about me and lump me in with others who are being intentional firebrands.

  13. Wow. I see Jason simply asked for more facts and he got attacked by several readers. I agree with Jason, more facts only will help.

    • Mark–What will you or Jason do with those facts?
      If he or you are radical anti vaxers that think covid is a hoax to get who you think is the world’s greatest leader out of office , and that we will never hear a word about it after the 2020 election, or that it is was created by the deep state to control us and take away our freedoms, will it make a difference to either of you ?
      If the hospital said all 4 people in the ICU were unvaccinated healthy 30 year old’s with no co morbidities, do you really think any radical anti vaxer would rush out and get the jab?
      My guess is they would not believe it.
      And if the hospital said all 4 people in the ICU were overweight over 70 year old’s who smoked and had heart disease, would that make someone regret getting the jab ?
      What is the point ?— we have national statistics on a large scale. If they don’t convince you, the status of 4 people on the island won’t change any minds.

      • It’s not so much that information is a controlled substance. It’s that privacy is a legal, concrete right. It was this way long before COVID and its many laughable conspiracies came to be. Funny how you have no qualms about asserting your right to deeply personal information, even when no such privilege exists, but you’re happy to try and trample the rights of others by making unreasonable demands. People can ask as many questions as they like, and 99% of the time I believe they deserve a thorough, polite answers. But when those questions are a loaded wind-up to claiming an article is intended to create panic, well… some of us are not interested in pretending the questions were innocent.

  14. George, thank you for what you do.
    Are you the most loved, and hated, person on the Island
    I love you when my comments are published.
    I must admit to taking your name in vain, on rare occasions, when you don’t.

  15. As I look over the 84 comments on this thread, I see that the majority of people who want “more information” are the very ones who are telling us that we are being lied to, the facts are made up and we should be way more worried about our “freedoms” and “rights” being taken away than a “little flu”
    While the right to privacy is not specifically mentioned in the constitution, it is implied in the first, second ( yes– real 2A defenders think the ownership of a gun should not be public knowledge) fourth and 14th amendments. Go figure …
    And just for the record–
    Constitutional rights revoked— zero
    Total U.S deaths from covid — 842,161 ( Dec 29 2021 )
    7 day average for U.S deaths from covid 1,115 (dec 28 2021 )

Comments are closed.