Since Friday, September 25, Nantucket Cottage Hospital has reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 among patients who were tested at the hospital’s drive-through evaluation site. The seven-day positive rate for the island has increased to 4.3 percent.
Contact tracing and case investigation are underway, with close contacts of these individuals being referred for testing. The Nantucket Health Department reported that among these new cases is a cluster connected to a church gathering on the island.
This incident should serve as a reminder to the community to avoid large gatherings, and always wear a mask when out in public when physical distancing is not possible. (more…)
Among the 14 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Nantucket over the past two days was an employee of Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Below is an outline of the steps we are taking to protect our patients, visitors and staff.
As soon as the testing result was known, the employee was isolated while NCH Infection Control and Occupational Health began working immediately to identify any potential exposures and directing them to take the appropriate next steps as required by our infection control policies.
At this time, we are not aware of any other individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 as a result of exposure to this staff member.
The NCH Environmental Services team regularly conducts deep cleans of all hospital areas as part of our routine cleaning protocols, including the use of the hospital’s Moonbeam UVC disinfection robot which uses powerful short wavelength ultraviolet-C lights to destroy any microorganisms exposed to it.
Nantucket Cottage Hospital continues to screen all staff, patients, and visitors for symptoms, and requires hospital-issued masks at all times for those entering the facility.
We wish our colleague a safe and speedy recovery.
As of 5 p.m. yesterday we reported just one new case of COVID-19 on Nantucket. We interpreted this as a good sign that the surge of cases we have experienced over the past two weeks may be slowing. But time will tell, and we will continue to monitor this situation closely.
Of course any number of new cases is concerning, but we were encouraged to see just this single case reported on Thursday. That being said, we are advocating for continued vigilance and adherence to all the precautions we should be taking as a community to bring this surge under control.
As you probably have heard, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has moved Nantucket into the “red” category on its weekly community-level COVID data report, indicating Nantucket is considered to be among the highest risk communities in the state for transmission. High-risk communities are defined as those having more than 8 cases per 100,000 people over the previous two weeks.
Along with officials from the Town of Nantucket, we will be meeting with representatives from the state today to discuss the situation on the island as it relates to COVID-19 and our response effort. One point we will be emphasizing is that the state is utilizing the outdated year-round population figure for Nantucket from the 2010 Census to determine the island’s case rate. We would like to see our true, larger year-round population figure considered. This could reduce the severity of our classification by the state, which impacts the timeline for school reopening and interscholastic sports.
As we head into the weekend, let’s acknowledge the fact that our community is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases by taking appropriate and reasonable precautions. Remember to wash your hands, stay physically distant, refrain from large gatherings, and wear a mask when you go out in public. If a contact tracer calls you, please be respectful and cooperate fully with the case investigation. This will help our community get through this safely and quickly, as it remains one of our best tools to stop the spread. (more…)
As of 5 p.m. yesterday we reported 6 new cases of COVID-19 on Nantucket. That brings the total number of new cases on the island over the past 10 days to 40. Of course any number of new cases is concerning, but we are pleased that we are not experiencing exponential growth in community spread.
But the recent surge means that, as of last night, the state has moved Nantucket into the “red” category on its community-level COVID data reporting web site. This indicates Nantucket is considered to be among the highest risk communities in the state for transmission. High-risk communities are defined as those having more than 8 cases per 100,000 people over the previous two weeks.
Our drive-through testing site continues to see a high-volume of patients, although we saw fewer people seeking out testing yesterday than the previous two days.
We are in lock-step with the Nantucket Health Department in its approach to bringing this surge of cases under control, and at this point we agree that there should be a surgical approach on enforcement and monitoring rather than the broader restrictions that were imposed in the spring.
We have been extremely pleased with the work that has been done by island retail merchants, restaurants and hotels to take the appropriate precautions and abide by the public health regulations, and we are not seeing clusters in those areas.
I want to emphasize how important it is to support one another during this time, and not resort to shaming or accusing others of being irresponsible. We know that hand-washing, physical distancing and wearing masks reduces the risk of transmission, but that doesn’t mean it eliminates risk entirely. Someone can take every precaution and still become infected, so we ask that our fellow islanders who have been stricken with this disease not be shamed or denigrated. No one wants to get COVID-19 or spread it to others. So let’s remember to support each other and lift each other up rather than getting bogged down in an “us versus them” mentality or looking for someone to blame for this surge. (more…)