The number of people hospitalized on Cape Cod with COVID-19 as their primary diagnosis is lower than the figures reported by the state, Cape Cod Healthcare president Michael K. Lauf said.
During a news conference Thursday, October 15, Mr. Lauf said only one patient is being treated for COVID-19 in a hospital on the Cape. Additional patients have been counted as having the illness while hospitalized, but he said those patients are being treated for conditions other than COVID-19. In many cases, their COVID-19 diagnosis was found while conducting inpatient screening on asymptomatic patients, he said.
He said a recent report from the state indicated a day when six COVID-19 patients were being treated in the organization’s hospitals, but only one of those patients was being treated specifically for the disease.
As of yesterday, the state reported two COVID-19 patients were being treated at Falmouth Hospital, one of whom was in intensive care. Cape Cod Hospital was not treating any patients with the disease.
In the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases, Mr. Lauf said, the hospitals are prepared and have the ability to expand capacity to treat a potential influx of patients. The hospitals are also well-prepared in terms of personal protective equipment.
The pandemic aside, Mr. Lauf said one in four patients are forgoing critical routine care for chronic conditions during the pandemic. He stressed that hospitals and medical offices are safe places from a health standpoint and that staff are knowledgeable on how to mitigate the spread of disease. Mr. Lauf urged patients who need routine care to seek out the care they need.
In the past week 33 people have tested positive for COVID-19 on Cape Cod, bringing the total number of cases in the region to 1,882 since the outbreak began in March.
The Barnstable County Department of Human Services has identified at least 214 probable cases of the illness, as well.
Three Cape Cod residents have died of the disease in the past week. Officials maintain that no evidence of community spread exists at this time and that spread of the disease remains isolated right now.
During yesterday’s news conference, Senator Julian A. Cyr (D-Truro) said many of the newly reported cases in the region appear to be the result of routine surveillance such as among asymptomatic healthcare employees and patients being screened for other procedures.
None of the towns in Barnstable County are considered to be high-risk, although three Cape towns are considered to be at moderate risk. Those towns include Bourne, Barnstable and Harwich.
Bourne has 16 active cases, with an average daily case rate of 5.5 per 100,000 residents.
Sandwich, considered at moderate risk last week, has been downgraded and has 10 active cases. Falmouth has 15 active cases, while Mashpee has fewer than five active cases.
During the news conference, Sen. Cyr talked briefly about what the World Health Organization is calling an “infodemic” alongside the pandemic, which has become particularly prevalent as a result of being in a digital age.
An infodemic is when an overabundance of information is available, which can lead to the dissemination of incorrect information. Sen. Cyr said this misinformation can be around false claims regarding available COVID-19 treatments, as well as false claims about how the virus does or does not spread.
The WHO said the spread of misinformation can cost lives.
“Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets and the virus will (continue to thrive),” the organization stated on its website.
The three-day average positive test rate in the state as of Wednesday, October 14, is 3.8 percent, up from a three-day average of 2 percent one month ago.
In a news conference on Tuesday, October 13, Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. said the rise of cases in the fall was always expected, and he urged residents to remain vigilant by wearing facial coverings, socially distancing and maintaining proper hygiene.
He said taking these precautions is especially important as cool weather begins to drive people indoors.
Across the state over the past two weeks, the average age of someone who has tested positive for the disease is 38, while the average age of someone who has died from the disease is 78. The majority of cases reported over the past two weeks throughout Massachusetts are among people in their 20s. In the same period of time one person in that age group has died, as has one pediatric patient.
A total of 1,177 people connected with higher-education institutions have tested positive for the illness. Those tests include college staff as well as students.