COVID-19 special update: Cape Cod Reopening Task Force concerned about high positive cases of COVID-19 on Cape Cod

CAPE COD – The Cape Cod Reopening Task Force is “deeply concerned” at the large rise in positive COVID-19 tests recently, with 138 new cases added on November 21; nearly double the previous single day record. “We are in the bump we have talked about since summer” says Sean O’Brien of the Barnstable County Department of Heath. Two weeks ago the Town of Barnstable was below 8 cases per 100,000 people, but has now more than tripled that figure to 25 cases per 100,000 people.

The current surge is mainly tied to community spread, says the Task Force. People gathering in homes become carriers to workplaces and schools, and there is often exposure in multiple places. Skilled nursing and long-term care facilities remain areas of concern as do schools. Both have been fairly well-controlled but numbers are still headed in the wrong direction.

Health officials’ ability to target trouble spots has been hindered by the lack of free testing available on the Cape. State Senator Julian Cyr, D-Truro calls Cape Cod a “testing desert”, saying that no other region in the state has a lower rate of PCR tests per 100,000 in population. The expected $550,000 in Federal Cares Act Funds should alleviate the situation but the worry is that it will not be enough to reverse the trend.

Thanksgiving will be a crucial time for the Cape, says Cyr, as it may determine the future of the current surge. Continuing or increasing cases could lead to increasing hospitalizations or fatalities in the weeks ahead.

By Jane Sheehy Emphit
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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