Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Reminds Island Community of Safe Travel Practices in Light of Conoravirus Outbreak in China

Oak Bluffs, MA. (February 11, 2020) – Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is closely monitoring the 2019 Novel Coranavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak first detected in Wuhan, the capital city in Hubei Province in central China. While the risk to the public remains low in Massachusetts, here at MVH we have been vigilant and communicate daily with experts across our Partners Healthcare system to ensure we are prepared to properly protect our patients, staff and community.

At Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and within the Partners Healthcare System, infectious disease specialists, emergency management, occupational health, communications and other leadership groups have been actively working together to share up to the moment updates and to fine tune our emergency response should it be necessary. We are continuing to closely monitor the latest developments and are following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local public health officials.

Last week, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital initiated a meeting with local healthcare leaders. Participants included representatives from the Island’s EMT and fire departments, school nurses and administrative leaders, town health agents, the airport and Vineyard Medical Center. The discussion centered around preparedness and coordination of services, information and resources should Martha’s Vineyard be faced with a positive coronavirus diagnosis. These scheduled calls will take place twice weekly or as needed.

“It’s true that our community is more likely to be impacted by the effects of a flu outbreak, but we aren’t as insulated when it comes to these matters as one may think. This is the time of year many Vineyarders travel far and wide and we want to remind everyone that if you have a layover or your destination is listed as one of the countries of concern from the CDC, please take proper precautions for your own safety and that of those around you. We feel prepared at MVH should a coronavirus diagnosis happen on the island and would like to thank our community partners who have joined us on the preparation calls to be sure we are well coordinated in our efforts.” said Denise Schepici, President & CEO of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

The CDC suggests you take the proper precautions below this travel season:

If you have traveled to or through China, Hong Kong or Macao in the last 30 days, the CDC suggests you self-isolate and call your primary care provider if you feel unwell.

General reminders from the CDC:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • 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 CDC’s recommendations for using facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV.
    • Facemask should be used by people who show symptoms of coronavirus, in order to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • 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 readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

“Our mantra in emergency preparedness is that we prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We hope to never have to activate our incident command center for the coronavirus but should we need to, we are well prepared at MVH and in the community. We can’t stress enough the importance of washing your hands, it helps keep you and those around you free from germ exposure. We wish everyone happy, health and safe travels this winter season” said Claire Seguin, Chief Quality & Clinical Officer.