Reopening Task Force Updates Community on COVID-19

Cape and Islands State Senator and Task Force Member Julian Cyr.

HYANNIS – The Cape Cod Reopening Task Force recently addressed the record number of new cases that the region is seeing amid the second wave of the coronavirus.

“We’re grateful that the hospitalizations remain lower than they were in the first wave in March and April, but we’re very much concerned about the trajectory of this,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro).

Cyr said that the region continues to see lower testing rates compared to elsewhere, especially for asymptomatic residents.

However, overall testing on Cape Cod has increased greatly since the Labor Day Weekend according to the state.

Cyr was concerned by the lack of testing, especially given that Barnstable County remains in one of the highest risk categories in percent positivity among PCR tests.

“The task force is working apace to try and step in where the state has not and I hope that in the coming weeks we’ll be able to announce more robust testing options for Cape Codders. But at this time there are limited options,” said Cyr.

Vaira Harik, Deputy Director with Department of Human Services, said that although case numbers are rising across the state, recent larger bumps in Barnstable County daily case numbers were likely bolstered by older case dumps by the Department of Public Health that were only recently verified.

Harik also said that, even so, the majority of case numbers are still most likely properly reported new cases.

Director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment Sean O’Brien also said that the cases are increasing in the region.

“We’re in that second bump with this virus and we’re seeing it out there. It’s really important for us to protect ourselves and protect our families,” said O’Brien.

He stressed the importance of residents adhering to state guidelines on COVID-19 safety and to keep gatherings indoors limited to family members.

O’Brien said that the task force is looking at more ways to bring testing to the Cape Cod region as more funding is made available, including pop-up testing locations and mobile testing sites.

Cyr said that over $750,000 in funding will be going towards testing services on the Cape.

About Grady Culhane

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