PROVINCETOWN (CBS) – A new public health notice encouraging indoor face masks and checking for COVID vaccines in crowded places was released on Monday in Provincetown after 132 cases of coronavirus were linked to a cluster of the week July 4th holiday. Most new cases are reported in vaccinated people who have experienced mild symptoms.
The notice says that “masks are advised indoors where social distancing cannot be achieved.” P-Town will require masks for unvaccinated people, including children, in indoor public spaces and high-traffic outdoor locations.
“High density sites where social distancing is not feasible are strongly advised to apply vaccine checking prior to admission.” the board States.
Epidemiologists say the outbreak is likely the result of the highly contagious delta variant currently circulating in the United States.
Dr Catherine Brown of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said the DPH has alerted other jurisdictions in the cluster state and is working with the Centers for Disease Control to actively seek out cases out of state.
The numbers show that 89 are residents of Massachusetts and 43 from out of state. Almost three quarters of those infected show symptoms. Ninety-three percent are male patients, with the median age being 35 years.
Thirty-two companies in Provincetown have cases associated with the cluster.
“I think this last week and since July 4th is just a reminder to us that yes, COVID is still here,” said Sean O’Brien, Barnstable County health director.
NEW: 132 cases of covid are linked to the cluster in Provincetown as of the week of July 4, Barnstable County health official Vaira Harik reports in a special meeting this morning. Health officials say most were vaccinated people with mild symptoms. #WBZ
– Louisa Moller (@LouisaMoller) July 19, 2021
Barnstable County Social Services Vaira Harik said the exact number of people vaccinated was under investigation. But she said the number of cases among those vaccinated was “large” and “more than the vaccine’s 5% effectiveness rate.”
Officials pointed out that the vaccines have been shown to be effective due to the mildness of the symptoms. Provincetown is extending the stay of a mobile COVID test van until Friday, and vaccines are also offered in the van.
CEO Alex Morse acknowledged that the popular LGBTQ + summer destination was densely packed for the holidays.
“We know we’ve just had two of the busiest weeks of the summer,” said Morse. “We hope that with the changes in behavior and over time, we will see some stability, but we just can’t predict that yet.”