Local Health Officials Ready for COVID Boosters, Flu Season

Barnstable County Health and Environment Director Sean O’Brien

HYANNIS – During the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates meeting Wednesday, county health officials said that they are gearing up for a busy fall with COVID-19 boosters and the incoming seasonal flu.

“The Delta strand remains our dominant strain and is contributing to increased case numbers even net of the over 80 percent at least one-dose vaccination coverage,” said Assistant County Administrator Vaira Harik. 

Harik added that hospitalizations are between 15 and 20 on a rolling three-day average and local hospitals are in no way overwhelmed. 

On average, the Cape region is seeing about 30 new cases a day. 

Harik said that the coronavirus has become endemic, and highlighted continued contact tracing efforts in keeping any potential clusters under control so individuals are not infected or re-infected.

County Department of Health and Environment Director Sean O’Brien said that testing remains vital, especially as the fall season drives people back indoors.

General vaccinations continue at the Barnstable County Complex, and booster appointments for those over 65 or otherwise eligible can also be made through the county.

“It’s starting to pick up and we’re using that as our barometer right now. To sit back and really look and see if we need to increase options,” said O’Brien.

“A lot of our mass vaccination sites that we’ve had, we still have the opportunity to use those facilities if needed, but at this point we’re looking at just one vaccine being able to be used right now. We’re still waiting to hear about Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer is the only one we really have a plan for.”

The Medical Reserve Corps is on standby and ready to help increase vaccination output, according to O’Brien.

The delegation asked if moving back to in-person meetings was feasible as more are vaccinated and case numbers remain lower, but O’Brien and Harik said the possibility should wait until further data can be collected and shouldn’t be a “snap decision.” 

O’Brien said that masking and other public health measures remain vital and helped cut down on influenza cases during last year’s flu season, which could carry over into this year as well.

Both COVID-19 booster shots and flu vaccines are being offered by the Barnstable County Health Department, appointments for which can be made on their website

Flu shots and COVID shots can be received the same day without any safety risks or waiting period necessary, according to health officials.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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