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Coronavirus Updates

News and Information for Nantucket

Overview

Nantucket Cottage Hospital and the Town of Nantucket are actively responding to the coronavirus pandemic.


Daily Updates on COVID Testing & Confirmed Cases for Nantucket

Daily at 5 p.m., this link will be updated to reflect testing results and confirmed cases on Nantucket.


KEY MESSAGES FROM NCH (Click links for details or navigate to blue boxes)

ACTUALIZACIONES EN ESPAÑOL


If you feel sick with the symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, sore throat, coughing, muscle aches, and shortness of breath, please call ahead before coming to the hospital: 508-825-1000. You will be screened and provided instructions. We are currently receiving a large volume of calls from Nantucket residents with questions, so please leave a message if your call is not answered immediately.


Drive-Through Evaluation Site at NCH Main Entrance Portico

Nantucket Cottage Hospital has opened a drive-through evaluation site at the main entrance of the hospital for patients who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. This is not a voluntary testing site. Please do not come and ask to be tested if you do not feel sick.

Patients will be evaluated by NCH staff for respiratory conditions and testing for COVID-19 will only be administered to patients who meet the criteria set by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Patients who visit the drive-through site at NCH will be screened to determine their symptoms and likely diagnosis. Only those patients who meet the criteria will receive nasal swabs in their car to test for COVID-19 and influenza. Patients will then be given instructions and asked to return home to await follow-up regarding their test results and further instructions. Testing is conducted at the FDA-approved laboratories on the mainland, and weather depending, results can be expected within 48 to 72 hours.

To access this service, please drive in to the hospital property through the Prospect Street entrance and queue up behind any other cars that are waiting. The hours of operation are currently daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and are subject to change.

We ask that island residents have patience with hospital staff as we roll out this new evaluation process, and advise that there may be significant wait times to access this service. So, again we ask that only individuals who feel they are experiencing respiratory illness symptoms come to the hospital’s evaluation site.

Helpful Links-Updates

Daily Updates on COVID Testing & Confirmed Cases for Nantucket

Daily at 5 p.m., this link will be updated to reflect testing results and confirmed cases on Nantucket.



If you feel sick with the symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, sore throat, coughing, muscle aches, and shortness of breath, please call ahead before coming to the hospital: 508-825-1000. You will be screened and provided instructions. We are currently receiving a large volume of calls from Nantucket residents with questions, so please leave a message if your call is not answered immediately.


NCH UPDATE: March 24, 2020 | Third confirmed case of COVID-19 on Nantucket:

Nantucket Cottage Hospital has received confirmation of another positive case of the COVID-19 coronavirus on the island, the third confirmed case for Nantucket. Like the others, this patient is isolated at home and monitoring their symptoms with our clinicians.

The patient was screened at Nantucket Cottage Hospital on Sunday, March 22, and the test result was reported positive Tuesday morning, March 24.

The patient will remain quarantined at home while we monitor their symptoms, and NCH together with the Town of Nantucket Health Department has initiated the process of tracing the patient’s contact with other individuals as well as NCH staff. No further patient details will be shared by NCH.

Moving forward, we will be providing updates on confirmed cases and testing once daily at this link.


NCH UPDATE: March 22, 2020 | Nantucket Cottage Hospital has received confirmation of the first positive case of the COVID-19 coronavirus on the island. The patient is isolated at home and monitoring their symptoms with our clinicians.

The patient was screened at Nantucket Cottage Hospital on Friday, March 20, and the test result was reported positive on Sunday, March 22, less than 48 hours later.

The patient will remain quarantined at home while we monitor their symptoms, and NCH together with the Town of Nantucket Health Department has initiated the process of tracing the patient’s contact with other individuals as well as NCH staff. Due to HIPAA regulations no further patient details will be shared by NCH.


NCH UPDATE: March 20, 2020 | NCH Statement on Access to Hospital and to the Island During Pandemic

Nantucket is under a State of Emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic and Nantucket Cottage Hospital is requesting that island residents do not come to the hospital unless they need emergency care that would require them to be admitted, have an urgent health matter that cannot wait, or are an expecting mother in labor. As this situation evolves we will need to focus all our resources on those who need immediate care.

We are also advising anyone traveling to the island, or anyone who has come here to shelter from other cities or towns, that Nantucket has limited medical resources and a surge of cases could quickly overwhelm our hospital. If you have a choice to be on Nantucket or not, we are requesting that you make the decision to stay off the island to avoid a potentially dire scenario for our community and our hospital.

We need everyone on Nantucket to stay home now. Residents should follow every precaution with regards to social distancing, hygiene, hand-washing, and disinfecting much-used surfaces.

The drive-through evaluation site at the main entrance of Nantucket Cottage Hospital will continue to operate and island residents who are feeling symptoms of respiratory illness should utilize this service. Please do not come to the drive-through if you are well and do not have symptoms. It is not a voluntary testing site. The drive-through will now be open on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


NCH UPDATE: March 18, 2020 | Hospital Statement in Support of Town of Nantucket’s Declaration of a State of Emergency and Construction Moratorium:

Nantucket Cottage Hospital is in full support of the Town of Nantucket’s decision today to declare a State of Emergency and implement a moratorium on all construction projects.

We live on a remote island with limited medical resources. It is absolutely imperative that the community takes the COVID-19 pandemic extremely seriously. We must do everything we can to flatten the curve of potential infections and avoid a scenario in which we have a surge of cases that could overwhelm our hospital and medical providers.

As we have been emphasizing, we should be acting as if the virus is here now, even though we have not yet had a confirmed case of COVID-19 on Nantucket.

Island residents need only to watch the news and see how the pandemic has impacted communities in Italy and other European countries. That is the scenario we must do everything in our power to avoid.

So we thank the Town of Nantucket and the Select Board for taking this difficult but necessary action to declare a State of Emergency for the island and implement a moratorium on construction projects. Now it is up to all members of our community to heed the advice from the town, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, and public health officials. Stay home as much as possible, limit contact with other people through social distancing, practice appropriate and effective hygiene and cleaning of much-used surfaces. This will give us time to assess the situation on the ground and flatten the curve of potential infections in our community. Read our full set of recommendations here.


NCH UPDATE: March 18, 2020 | Our Emotional Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Open Letter to the Community from NCH Social Services Manager Sarah Munsen, LICSW

Everyone here at NCH is working hard to follow the latest guidelines on how best to take care of patients and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe emotional health is an important component of overall health, and we wanted to reach out with some suggestions. Read the full post by clicking here.


NCH UPDATE: March 17, 2020 |Please listen to NCH President & CEO Gary Shaw’s update on our coronavirus response efforts and the actions we as a community need to be taking immediately to flatten the curve, as broadcast this morning on Nantucket Radio 97.7 ACK FM (WACK-FM)

or read the full statement by clicking here


NCH UPDATE: March 16, 2020 | NCH IS NOT CONDUCTING VOLUNTARY TESTING. However, if you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, please read on.

On Monday, March 15th Nantucket Cottage Hospital opened a drive-through evaluation site at the main entrance of the new hospital for patients who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness.

This is not a voluntary testing site. Please do not come and ask to be tested if you do not feel sick. 

Patients will be evaluated by NCH staff for respiratory conditions and testing for COVID-19 will only be administered to patients who meet the strict criteria set by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Patients who visit the drive-through site at NCH will be screened to determine their symptoms and likely diagnosis. Only those patients who meet the criteria will receive nasal swabs in their car to test for COVID-19 and influenza. Patients will then be given instructions and asked to return home to await follow-up regarding their test results and further instructions. Testing is conducted at the state laboratory on the mainland, and weather depending, results can be expected within 72 hours.

To access this service, please drive in to the hospital property through the Prospect Street entrance and queue up behind any other cars that are waiting. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.

We ask that island residents have patience with hospital staff as we roll out this new evaluation process, which is likely to change by the hour as we assess this evolving situation. There will likely be significant wait times to access this service, so again we ask that only individuals who feel they are experiencing respiratory illness symptoms come to the hospital.


NCH UPDATE: March 15, 2020 | Urgent COVID-19 Prevention, safety & health communication from Dr. Diane Pearl and NCH President/CEO Gary Shaw: As Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s President, and in lock step with our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Diane Pearl, we know there is some confusion about what to do next in the midst of this unprecedented response to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and widespread social disruption. To that end, this is our blended and well-informed opinion with insight from Asaf Bitton, MD, Assistant Medical Director of Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital,  regarding steps we must take together as a community moving forward.

What we do, or don’t do, over the next week will have a massive impact on the trajectory of coronavirus on Nantucket. We are only about 10 days behind Italy and generally on track to repeat what is unfortunately happening there, as well as much of the rest of Europe very soon. At this point, containment through contact tracing and testing is only part of the necessary strategy. We must move to pandemic mitigation through widespread, uncomfortable and comprehensive social distancing. That means shutting down work places (as much as possible), group gatherings and public events. It also means making daily choices to stay away from each other as much as possible to Flatten The Curve.

Our regional health system, and our island hospital in particular, simply will not be able to cope with the projected numbers of people who will need acute care should we not muster the fortitude and will to socially distance each other starting now. Our new community hospital is very well suited to delivering routine care and standard surgeries and procedures, but is not an Intensive Care Unit. Even moderate projections suggest that if current infectious trends hold, our capacity (locally and nationally) may be overwhelmed in the near future.  Thus the only set of interlinked strategies that can get us off this concerning trajectory is to work together as a community to maintain public health by staying apart.

So what does this enhanced form of social distancing mean on a daily basis, when schools are cancelled? Read more of this post here:


NCH UPDATE: March 15, 2020 | We are currently canceling and rescheduling routine and non-urgent appointments as well as elective procedures at the hospital due to our ongoing coronavirus response efforts. This is being done out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our patients and staff. We certainly apologize for this inconvenience but this is an unprecedented situation for our hospital and providers. Staff members are calling patients starting today to notify them and reschedule if possible. We thank the community for its patience and understanding.


NCH UPDATE: March 15, 2020 | Due to our ongoing coronavirus response efforts, all patients must enter the hospital through the emergency department, effective immediately. This measure is being taken to control who enters the hospital, and is one of our many initiatives being implemented to protect patients and staff. This will also allow us to implement new screening measures for patients.


NCH UPDATE: March 13, 2020 | NCH has implemented new visitor restrictions for the protection of our patients, visitors and workforce to continue providing the safest care environment. Read them here.

https://vimeo.com/397442450

Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions (Updated March 12)

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV2 that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
COVID-19 symptoms include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath – for your safety and the safety of others, please call ahead and do not come to NCH unless you have been instructed to do so.

How does testing happen for island residents? Like all other hospitals in Massachusetts, NCH will collect a specimen from patients who meet the criteria for testing, as determined by our physicians and state public health officials in coordination with the CDC, and send it to an FDA-approved lab for testing.

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?
There also is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 commonly treat their symptoms at home with rest, fluids, and other common cold or flu treatments, although some may require medical care to treat more severe symptoms.

Is there a vaccine?
Scientists around the globe – including researchers at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard – are working on developing a vaccine to combat COVID-19, however, currently there is no vaccine to protect against the virus.

I once took Tamiflu when I had the seasonal flu. Can I take a similar drug to protect me from COVID-19?
No. There currently is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19.

Is COVID-19 seasonal like the flu? Will warm weather stop the outbreak?
At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

I’m not feeling well and think I may have been exposed to COVID-19. Should I stay home, or head to the Emergency Department?
Before deciding to come to the hospital, please call your primary health care provider and tell them about your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t leave your home and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.

Should I wear a face mask to prevent COVID-19?
The CDC does not recommend that people who are feeling well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a health care professional recommends it or if you are a health care professional caring for patients who are on certain precautions. As always, if you have a fever or cough when at NCH, please pick up a mask at any of the patient lobbies to help prevent the spread of germs of all kinds.

How can I protect myself and my family?
There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay home if you are sick


Coronavirus questions and answers from the CDC

What is 2019 novel coronavirus?
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified at the end of 2019 during an investigation into an outbreak of respiratory illness and pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

Updates of the count of cases of infection with COVID-19 in the United States is available on the CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html.

From the CDC:

How do people catch coronavirus?

The virus is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread when someone touches a contaminated surface, such as a door handle.

Visit the CDC for more information >


Helpful preventative measures

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Follow these five steps to wash your hands the right way
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. You can count to 20 to be sure you have scrubbed for the right amount of time.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Download a PDF on the best practices for hand-washing >

The growing spread of COVID-19 has created a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for many people, including children and teens. As parents and caregivers, it can be difficult to talk with your kids about this global pandemic and address their concerns. In this video, Gene Beresin, MD, executive director of the MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, offers helpful tips about how to engage with children of all ages to support and maintain emotional stability during this evolving situation.

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