Good evening, I’m Roberto Santamaria, your host this evening for Nantucket Pulse programming, made possible by Nantucket Cottage Hospital Community Health Initiative. This is a special edition of Nantucket Pulse programming that will air weekly covering the Coronavirus impacts for the island. We will provide urgent updates as they unfold.

We will be taking on questions. Please log in to NCTV’s Facebook and YouTube pages to post questions and we will answer as many as we can in the time allowed. Before we begin tonight, I would like to share a statement from a business that plays an important role in our community, Stop & Shop. Given the recent developments concerning the Coronavirus, the company issued a statement to NCTV saying, 

We recognize the important role Stop & Shop plays in the Nantucket community and we are committed to doing our very best to support our local customers and associates throughout this busy time. Our top priority is the safety and health of our associates and customers. We continue to actively monitor Coronavirus in the US and are following the guidance of global, national, and local health authorities. 

We have amplified our cleaning and sanitizing efforts to ensure customers can shop with confidence. Upon entering our stores, disinfecting wipes are available near the entrance, and customers are welcome to wipe down carts, hand baskets, and Scan-It Devices before every use. Our associates are frequently wiping down self-service locations and check-out areas with disinfectant. This includes the belts and pin pads at all our registers.

 All of our self-service offerings including our olive bars, wing bars, salad bars, and hot bars have been suspended. Packaged items will be made available in their place. This also includes Pick-Your-Own bakery items like doughnuts and muffins as well as self-service nuts and baking items. However, plenty of pre-packaged options for all of those items will continue to be available. 

We have also suspended our food sampling programs, in-store events, as well as community solicitation until further notice. Our team is in close contact with suppliers and is working diligently to try and to keep high-demand products in stock. We are still operating our regular product delivery schedule to the islands.

And now, we would like to show you the PSA that the Nantucket Cottage Hospital and the Health Department has set up for you. 

Hospital Statement

I’m Gary Shaw, President and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital. 

I want to assure the community that your hospital and the incredibly dedicated team of staff and clinicians we have here are doing everything they can to prepare for potential cases of coronavirus or COVID-19. 

While we have not yet had a confirmed case of COVID-19 on Nantucket, island residents should be taking this situation very seriously, and taking every precaution we can to prevent any potential spread within our community. 

In fact, we should be acting as if the virus is already here. 

We are advising residents, businesses, and organizations to cancel events and gatherings, practice social distancing, work from home if you are able to, and take everyday actions that are proven to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. Those include: avoiding close contact with people who are sick; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and staying home if you feel sick.

You may have heard the term “Flatten the Curve” and that is our goal. We want to avoid a scenario in which there is a surge of COVID-19 cases that could threaten to overwhelm our island’s healthcare resources and providers. To do that, we need everyone in the community to take the precautions I mentioned earlier. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 – including fever, cough, and shortness of breath – are very similar to other seasonal illnesses that are circulating in the community now like the common cold and flu.

If you are experiencing these symptoms and are worried you may have been exposed to COVID-19, before coming to the hospital please call ahead to the physician practices office at 508-825-1000 and tell them about your symptoms. You will be screened and provided instructions. 

At this time, I urge everyone to stay calm and not panic but to take this situation seriously and remember to support one another as much as we can. I also encourage all residents to visit our web site NantucketHospital.org for regular updates and information on this evolving situation. 

Thank you.