Nantucket Cottage Hospital is closely monitoring the outbreak caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and working closely with local, state, and federal health officials, along with infection control and emergency management professionals across the Partners Healthcare system.
Local Risk Remains Low
As of February 28, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports there has been one confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Massachusetts. The risk to residents in Massachusetts remains low.
As of February 28, Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory received approval to begin testing patients for COVID-19, in accordance with guidance from the CDC. Clinicians who have patients they think may have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 who meet the current CDC definition of a Person Under Investigation can contact DPH to discuss their patients and receive authorization to submit specimens for testing. Testing at the State Public Health Laboratory will speed up obtaining test results for Persons Under Investigation and expedite ongoing testing of any confirmed case in recovery.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
What to Do If You Think You Are Sick With Coronavirus
Call ahead to a healthcare professional at NCH if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of the disease, including China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact. Your healthcare professional will work with the state DPH and CDC to determine if you need to be tested.
There is no vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- 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 a facemask. “CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.” Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. 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. о 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. Island Preparedness Nantucket Cottage Hospital activated its Hospital Incident Command system in response to the coronavirus outbreak on Jan. 27th. Since then, the NCH Emergency Management team has implemented a series of actions to prepare the hospital and the community for the potential spread of coronavirus to the island.
- Our plan ensures that staff are properly prepared and trained to provide safe care to our patients while protecting themselves and that we are screening all patients on arrival
to reduce the risk to others.
- System-wide and local coordination: participation in ongoing Partners Emergency Management and Infection Control meetings by phone, as well as local collaboration with Town of Nantucket Health Department
- Communication: Ongoing staff and community information distribution via e-mail, social media, and media partners
The Town of Nantucket has a page with local updates on COVID-19.