The recent surge in Covid-19 cases on the Island has included an increase in hospitalizations, even as appointments for booster vaccine shots have been hard to come by, leaders at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital confirmed Wednesday.

At a press briefing Wednesday, hospital chief operating officer and head nurse Claire Seguin said one person was hospitalized with the virus and listed in fair condition. Several other patients were hospitalized recently, but all have been released and none required transport to an off-Island medical facility, Ms. Seguin said.

Alongside Covid hospitalizations, officials said the hospital is experiencing a staffing shortage after the departure of two primary care physicians this year, and an increase in visitation for reasons other than the pandemic. Ms. Seguin said the hospital has not become overrun with patients, but the heightened visitation has caused some strain.

“We’re watching capacity daily,” she said. “And honestly, it’s tight.”

Island boards of health reported 76 confirmed Covid cases and another 20 probable cases (based on over-the-counter tests) between Sunday, Nov. 28 and Saturday, Dec. 4. In the following five days, an additional 75 confirmed cases and 15 more probable ones have been reported.

On Wednesday hospital officials blamed the spike in cases partially on Thanksgiving travel. But hospital chief executive officer Denise Schepici said lax mask-wearing may be another large factor contributing to the spike

“I think it’s . . . we’re letting our guard down with wearing masks,” she said. “That is a concern.”

Ms. Schepici said the Vineyard has yet to see a confirmed case of the spreading Omicron variant, which was first identified in the commonwealth over the weekend.

“But we know Omicron has a great potential to spread,” she said.

With the threat of a new variant, hospital officials urged Vineyarders to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Ms. Schepici acknowledged the high demand for booster shot appointments at the hospital — and also scarce availability, leading to a scramble for the shot. Some have turned to community social media forums for advice on scheduling an appointment.

“We’re using all resources available to get vaccines in the arms of our community,” Ms. Schepici said. But she urged those looking to get a booster dose of the vaccine to also look beyond the hospital for appointments.

On Saturday and Sunday, a vaccine bus will offer free doses at the regional high school. It will be stationed at the school from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Online registration is required at

Ms. Schepici also said those looking for a booster shot may have an easier time getting one off-Island while holiday shopping or running errands. And despite the difficulties scheduling booster shots, Ms. Seguin cited robust vaccination statistics for the Vineyard: to date the hospital administered 14,888 first doses, 14,956 second doses and 3,379 booster shots. Ms. Seguin said the hospital expects to vaccinate 600 more people this week.

She also said the hospital has administered 401 doses to kids aged 5-11, and noted that the Island has a higher rate of pediatric vaccine uptake than the state.

“I know that we’re more than halfway there,” Ms. Seguin said, speaking about fully vaccinating Island kids.

Updated with 75 new Covid cases confirmed since Saturday.