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, rapidtestmv.org helps track cases with an easy to use interface.
Updated with more information from conference call with hospital — Ed.