3 / 31 / 2020

NCH Statement on National Guard Presence at Hospital

As part of Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s ongoing coronavirus response and planning efforts, the hospital will welcome four members of the Massachusetts National Guard and Massachusetts Air National Guard this week who will assist with security needs, traffic control, and other logistical support at NCH. These service members will help NCH to ensure the safety and security of our patients during this challenging time.

The National Guard service members have been dispatched to Nantucket under orders from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, detailed to the Nantucket Police Department, and assigned to NCH by Police Chief Bill Pittman.

The National Guard service members will serve as part of the Hospital Incident Command structure. We anticipate that they would play a critical role in providing security and traffic control in the event of a surge of coronavirus patients at NCH that could result in a large number of patients, visitors, and vehicles seeking access to the hospital campus and facility.

We are sensitive to the fact that the presence of these National Guard service members could be intimidating for some residents of Nantucket. We want to assure the community that their role is simply to assist in the hospital’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus threat, and they will not be involved in any federal immigration enforcement activities.

3 / 30 / 2020

NCH Message to Our Expectant Mothers

To our expectant mothers on Nantucket,

As we have seen the first confirmed cases of coronavirus on Nantucket, we write to update you on the ongoing changes at Nantucket Cottage Hospital that are being implemented to keep you, your baby, and the Birthplace staff as safe and healthy as possible.

The Birthplace at NCH is one of the most secure and isolated areas of the hospital. Under our rigorous infection control protocols, everyone who enters the hospital is screened for any viral symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, or shortness of breath).  Moreover, the Birthplace is a locked unit for the safety and security of our patients and their babies, and only a very limited number of staff members have access to the unit. 

The visitor policy at NCH has been modified to prohibit most visitors to patients in the hospital with a few exceptions, including obstetrical patients. Women giving birth at NCH are permitted to have one adult visitor, provided the person has no viral symptoms. The one adult visitor must be the same person throughout your entire admission at NCH. As your due date approaches, the NCH Birthplace staff will be available to discuss the current details of this policy with you.

3 / 30 / 2020

NCH CEO Letter to Hospital Staff

To: All NCH Staff

From: Gary Shaw, FACHE, President & CEO

March 30, 2020

Good Morning,

Gary Shaw, FACHE
President & CEO

Wow, how the world has changed in such a short period of time. These are interesting times for sure. As I walk through the Cottage Hospital I see so many working together to protect our community. It is heartwarming, encouraging, and, yet I see the seriousness of the moment on all of your faces. It is on mine as well. From heavy patient focus, concern for your colleagues, worries about loved ones, to concern about your friends, community, and country, the burden is real and I want you to know I feel it as well. That said, I want you to know that what you are doing is great work, you are leaning into this together and as a team what you are doing is extremely valued and is making a difference. But know one thing, in concert with your Town of Nantucket officials and with community vigilance this is the time to lean in even harder to break chain of coronavirus infection, that if not focused on could create an outcome we do not want on this Island, or in our country. In the coming weeks all of what you are doing at work, within the Cottage Hospital, and the community will break the COVID-19 virus chain. It is a time for continuing our course and encouraging each other at work and on this island to stay in this fight. You are doing great work, I see it, and so does the community.

3 / 27 / 2020

NCH Coronavirus Response Update | March 27, 2020

We first want to express our gratitude to the Nantucket community for the countless acts of generosity, goodwill and support for our hospital that we have witnessed over the past week. We thank everyone who has donated medical supplies or took the time to manufacture homemade masks, not to mention the many other offers of food, housing, and funding. Seeing our community rally around its hospital as we respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been inspiring for everyone at NCH.

As our hospital has prepared for this unprecedented situation and changed the way we do business, we realized that the measures that have been implemented to protect patients and our staff may have created the perception that NCH is essentially closed to all but those suffering from COVID-19. That is far from the truth, and we want the community to know that we are open and here to care for you. While we have indeed rescheduled things like well visits and cancelled elective procedures to reduce the number of people coming through our facility, we continue to see patients at NCH for urgent, non-COVID-19 healthcare needs. We are taking every infection control measure to protect patients and staff, and are screening potential coronavirus cases outside the hospital at our drive-through evaluation site at the main entrance. If you have a medical need, please call us and we will do our best to serve you and your family. Our doctors are able to schedule visits with their patients via telephone as well, and we are working on rolling out video visits.

We now have five confirmed cases of coronavirus on Nantucket. These patients are quarantined at their homes and monitoring their symptoms with our clinical team. As we know, the majority of people diagnosed with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, and we have not yet had anyone on Nantucket become significantly sick or require hospitalization due to coronavirus. But we cannot let that fact lead us to become complacent. We must do everything possible to prevent the spread of this virus in the community, so we continue to urge Nantucket residents to follow all aspects of the town’s stay at home order and construction ban, limit trips to the grocery store, practice social distancing, as well as vigilant hand-washing and hygiene measures. The actions all of us take now and in the days and weeks ahead will determine whether we are able to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our island and avoid a surge of cases that could overwhelm our hospital. We need the help and support of every member of our community to limit the potential spread of this virus.

3 / 24 / 2020

Call for Reserve Staff at NCH

Nantucket Cottage Hospital is calling on any active or retired healthcare professionals on the island to sign up to be part of a reserve staff of clinicians if the need arises during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

We are seeking any retired or active physicians, nurses, techs, or anyone who has a medical background to let us know if they are on-island and willing to help NCH if called upon.

We are able to do emergency credentialing at NCH as the state of Massachusetts has relaxed the rules around this process.

Please contact us at 508-825-8118 or e-mail sarhodes@partners.org if you are willing be part of our reserve staff during this challenging time. Thank you.

As a note to our regular employees who may be experiencing a reduction in work right now due to the deferral of certain elective procedures and visits, the hospital’s first priority is to find opportunities for you to be reassigned elsewhere in the hospital and to keep as many regular staff members employed as possible. If all regular (non-reserve) employees are reassigned and the hospital still has a need for staffing, the reserve staff would be available only as a last resort.