Cape Cod Healthcare Disputes Numbers Reported In ICU In Cape Cod Wave Story

Cape Cod Hospital
Written by Brian Tarcy

Cape Cod Healthcare has disputed numbers published in a Cape Cod Wave story in which an ICU nurse told us about the situation in the hospital, including the number of staff who have gotten sick. We stand by our story.

These are the eight disputed points, according to Jane Johnson, Executive Director of Hospital Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery:

On behalf of Cape Cod Healthcare, we are writing to inform you that the story you published today regarding the ICU at Cape Cod Hospital is inaccurate and misleading.

 1. A COVID-19 exposure incident which is believed to have been on April 28, 2020 resulted in 16 ICU staff members testing positive, not 24 as the article states. There were 14 RNs, including 2 traveling nurses and 2 nursing assistants. A few were asymptomatic. (Note from Cape Cod Wave: This is the first we have heard of this “exposure incident.”)

2. No ICU staff members were hospitalized, and all have returned to work except for 3 RNs and 1 nursing assistant. These numbers do not represent 20% of our ICU staff.

3. Two hospital employees who tested positive and were hospitalized, were not traced to the ICU exposure.

4. Clinical staff were tested twice, not two or three times per week, as the article states. Any employee tested a third time was tested at their request.

5. Today there are 12 COVID-19 patients with 5 in critical care in Cape Cod Hospital. The article states 8 in ICU and 9 more in the hospital outside of ICU. (Cape Cod Wave Note: “Today,” in this Cape Cod Healthcare letter is May 24. The numbers quoted in our story were from the day of our interview, May 22)

6. [The nurse] states that ER visits have doubled if not tripled. Over the last two weeks, the number of patients treated each day has been relatively consistent with an average of 132. Our lowest volumes were in early April with volumes between 80-100 but have far from doubled or tripled in volume. 

7. Cape Cod hospital midnight census for today was at 58% occupancy for med/surg telemetry and 45.8% occupancy for critical care- meaning the hospital is currently half full. 

8. Cape Cod Hospital supply chain has worked tirelessly to acquire the necessary PPE. The staff has N95s that are properly fit tested to each employee, face shields, gowns, gloves, hats and is provided every day with hospital scrubs so they can change before and after each shift. (Cape Cod Wave Note: Our source has always said there is enough equipment and has always expressed gratitude to Cape Cod Healthcare and the community for all their help.)

For our other coverage see Cape Cod Covidispatches

About the author

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. He is a longtime journalist who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston magazine, the Cape Cod Times and several other publications. He is the author of "YOU CAN'T SELL RIGHT FIELD; A Cape Cod Novel." He is also the author or co-author of more than a dozen mostly non-fiction books, including books with celebrity athletes Cam Neely, Tom Glavine and Joe Theisman. His previous book was, "ALMOST: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream" with Hap Klopp,who created the iconic brand, The North Face.
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Brian is a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan with a long-running NFL predictions/political satire column connecting weekly world events to the fate of his favorite team, now at


  • What is the hospital administration doing to prevent staff from becoming infected differently than they have been doing to prevent future spikes of employee infections- obviously any employee exposure is a problem- people are dying from this disease every day- why is the focus on quibbling about numbers and where the infections were traced to when the real issue is how do you protect your staff. Reusing UV treated N 95 masks
    That are designed for one time use is not an acceptable solution . No staff screening at the door on the way in to your shift is being done – as is the case for example at Mass General – The hospital has declined to make public the number of infected staff as other Massachusett hospitals have done . In my opinion this is disrespectful to your employees at best and shows a complete disregard for them- why the secrecy? The administration should realize that employees have the right to know how affected their workplace is . The more honest open discussion that occurs would only help people problem solve and hopefully do a better job at keeping everyone safe . Instead of focusing on he said she said please come up with a plan to protect
    Your employees .

  • The fact that this hospital has continually refused to increase staffing to help nurses at the bedside during this pandemic is shameful. The fact they take the time to harass a nurse and upstanding member of this community about her truthful comments to this reporter, instead of taking the time to improve staffing levels at the hospital and listen to its employees speaks volumes. If the hospital says it has enough PPE, then why are they so hesitant and reluctant to make sure each employee has an N95 mask when they ask for one? I personally have asked for an N95 mask to wear when my nursing judgment, after 20 years of experience, tells me to do so. But I have been met with management telling me multiple times that I do not need to wear one. And when I require one, they will provide me with one. This is ridiculous! Every patient must be presumed positive, and the hospital continues to do the bare minimum “ we follow CDC guidelines”. How about you go above and beyond for your employees! Instead of doing the bare minimum why don’t you do more to protect your staff? There have been multiple opportunities to do the right thing, to show the community and the many employees in this hospital how you respect and appreciate us. I am saddened that this opportunity has been missed on so many occasions. I will continually call on my community hospital to listen to its nurses. We want what you want- to provide the best care possible while being safe doing so. I love my hospital and respect my nursing administrators, please show us that you feeL the same way

  • No matter the numbers game played, the crucial issue is that our healthcare workers feel they are supported by having whatever PPE they need and want.

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