Hospital reports uptick in COVID cases

Officials recommend using precautions with August crowds.

— MV Times

For the first time since the public emergency officially ended in May, health officials statewide are reporting an increase in positive COVID tests and the amount of the virus detected in wastewater. 

The Island is also seeing a rise in positive cases, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital representatives announced during a press briefing Tuesday.

Hospital President Denise Schepici said the recent uptick of patients testing positive for the latest COVID variant, EG.5, or Eris, is “relatively low,” compared with previous waves of the virus. 

Generally, the symptoms of the Eris variant are “remaining mild compared with other variants of the disease”; this is likely due to widespread vaccination and people who have already been exposed to and infected with COVID, Schepici said. 

Still, a new vaccine for the Eris COVID variant is expected to be available on-Island in the fall. 

Last month, the hospital’s emergency department treated 33 people who tested positive for COVID. 

Out of the 43 people who tested positive for COVID this month on the Island, three required hospitalization. While two of those patients are listed as being in “fair condition,” one is currently being treated in the ICU, and considered to be in serious condition, MVH Chief Nurse Claire Seguin said. 

In the past seven days, 26 positive COVID cases have been recorded out of 131 hospital patients who’d been tested for the virus.

As a result, many of the hospital’s emergency department staff are opting to wear masks to protect themselves and their patients, Seguin said. While not mandated, patients are advised to also wear masks while in the emergency department. 

In its efforts to avoid spreading the virus, the hospital will be implementing some crowd-control measures, such as asking visitors to wait outside if the emergency department is full. 

MVH also asks that those who know they have the virus not seek treatment for COVID at the hospital unless they are experiencing serious symptoms, like high fever or difficulty breathing. 

“We strongly urge anyone who tests positive to quarantine at home, and use the emergency room only if symptoms require immediate care,” Seguin said. 

The reports come as the Island hits its height of summer activity and increased population. With some of the largest-capacity events slated for this month, MVH reps urge people to “use good discretion” to avoid possible infection. 

Though the Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not changed hospital protocol due to the uptick, which is occurring nationwide, MVH officials suggest wearing a mask when in public, and maintaining good hygiene practices.

Following a national shortage of Paxlovid — the approved antiviral medication and standard treatment for COVID — which is supplied by the state and federal governments, hospital staff say that a recent shipment of the drug has helped to restock Island pharmacies.


  1. Someone recently made a nasty wisecrack about a woman in pink wearing a fabulous pink mask at the VP’s fundraising event, but a well-fitted mask in a crowded situation really does work. I recently was in a crowded and busy medical setting off-island because of a stomach ache. I wore a KN95 mask for several hours as I waited to see a doctor. The woman on the gurney next to mine, about 6” away from me, was maskless. We were in close proximity for at least an hour. Then I watched and listened as a doctor told the woman she tested positive for covid and she was promptly whisked away. I was sure I’d come down with the virus, but I never did. Masks help prevent the covid infection, no doubt about it. However, they do absolutely nothing for a rupturing appendix! I’m minus one appendix, completely recovered, and happily still masked in public.

  2. Did you research the crowded and busy medical setting off-island’s mask policy?
    What is the current policy at our hospital?

  3. Everyone in my house, four adults came down with COVID at the end of June 2023. The EMs didn’t want to take me to the ER. They suggested that my 52 year old daughter who tested positive to COVID just before take me instead to the ER. They left and my daughter and her positive testing husband drove me to the ER. At the ER they saw me and tested me and I was indeed positive too. I was given Prolaxid as I was 80 and had some chronic diseases. But the general ER attitude was arm length and they really wished I hadn’t come there! No less my daughter who had a serious pneumonia after a serious bout of COVID was not to be seen there. And we had all had all the vaccinations against COVID! 5 each.

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