After a summer in which coronavirus cases remained relatively stable on the Island, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is preparing for a new threat come fall — the flu season.

In a press briefing Wednesday morning, hospital CEO Denise Schepici said because of the ongoing pandemic, the hospital was encouraging everyone to get a flu shot this year. Flu shots are available for all hospital patients, with an emphasis on pediatrics, Ms. Schepici said.

Flu shots are also available at other locations on-Island, including pharmacies and the Stop & Shop clinic in Edgartown. Ms. Schepici said hospital patients who get their flu shot elsewhere should inform the hospital of their vaccination.

“As summer turns to fall, we also need to prepare for the annual flu season — as if a pandemic wasn’t enough,” Ms. Schepici said Wednesday. “It’ll be more important than ever during this pandemic.”

Earlier this summer, Gov. Charlie Baker instituted an order requiring all students who would be going back to school in person to receive a flu shot by Dec. 31.

Head of operations and chief nurse Claire Seguin said that the hospital would be prioritizing pediatric patients who needed flu shots to return to school. She also said the hospital had refined its vaccination process after its experience with Covid testing, including paying close attention to equipment availability and making tests appointment-only. New this year, the hospital will also offer appointment-only drive through flu vaccinations.

“We definitely are using some lessons learned, in a good way, from coronavirus testing,” Ms. Seguin said.

Appointments at the hospital can be scheduled by calling 508-684-4500 for primary care physicians, and 508-693-3732 for pediatrics.

Ms Schepici said she expected to see an increase in symptomatic coronavirus testing requests as the fall flu and allergy season arrives, mainly because flu symptoms are so similar to those of the coronavirus. The hospital plans to manage a potential increase in testing demand — as well as larger than normal shoulder-season population — by keeping staff numbers “pretty much at summer levels,” Ms. Schepici said. The hospital is also looking to hire two additional primary care physicians.

When asked whether she agreed with the governor’s decision to require flu shots, Ms. Schepici stressed the importance of the vaccine, especially considering the ongoing pandemic.

“I’m very pro flu vaccine,” Ms. Schepici said. “I think it’s tough to mandate health care, it’s such an individualized thing. I would just highly advise everybody to get a flu shot.”

Hospital officials said they didn’t have any news to offer regarding a coronavirus vaccine, adding that they would need to see concrete results from clinical trials before advocating for any wider distribution. But Ms. Schepici said she was pleased to hear that CEOs of major vaccine companies had pledged to uphold the integrity of the scientific process as it moves forward, including strict safety standards.

Meanwhile, Ms. Schepici said she was able to breathe a sigh of relief now that the Labor Day holiday had passed. She advocated for Islanders to stay vigilant into the fall, but felt the summer had gone well on the Island. She credited early contact tracing and lockdown efforts with the success.

“The prevalence speaks for itself, and I think it really has to do with a strong beginning with the business community and construction community holding off for a little bit,” Ms. Schepici said. “I’m really pleased with how the summer went. I was certainly holding my breath. But I think the early things paid off.”