833 cases now tied to Provincetown COVID-19 cluster, town manager says

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WCVB Boston 28 July, 2021 - 10:36am 60 views

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COVID-19: Cape Cod Cluster Linked To Delta Variant Grows To 430 Cases

The Boston Globe 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

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There are now more than 430 active cases of COVID-19 in Provincetown as of Tuesday, July 27, more than triple the cases reported last week, most of which have been linked to the variant.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, genetic sequencing of initial samples associated with the recent COVID-19 cluster in Provincetown tested positive for the Delta variant.

However, health officials said that the total number of cases among vaccinated people in Massachusetts remains low, at 0.1 percent - or 5,166 cases out of over 4.3 million fully vaccinated residents.

The Provincetown Board of Health attributed the new spike in cases to celebrations during the Fourth of July weekend.

Officials said that they are “urging Provincetown’s residents, local businesses, and visitors to take precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.”

Health officials noted that “the Delta variant is known to be more transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus. 

"Individuals infected with the Delta variant tend to have more virus in their respiratory tract than other variants and infected individuals may carry the virus longer," they said. "These two factors contribute to the increased transmissibility seen with the Delta variant.”

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Delta variant “is spreading with incredible efficiency” and now represents more than 83 percent of new cases of the virus.

Most new infections in the US continue to be among unvaccinated people. But “breakthrough” infections, which generally cause milder illness, can occur in vaccinated people, health officials said.

According to the Department of Health, all three - Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer - vaccines in the US have shown to be “very effective” against the COVID-19 variants, and “remain the single best way for people to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their community from COVID-19 and its variants.” 

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765 COVID-19 cases linked to Provincetown cluster

WMUR-TV 28 July, 2021 - 01:00pm

Provincetown outbreak of COVID-19 rises to 833 cases

Boston.com 28 July, 2021 - 11:32am

Town Manager Alex Morse announced Wednesday that a total of 833 confirmed positive cases have been associated with the cluster in the Cape Cod town since the surge began. That number is up from the 765 cases reported on Tuesday.

Of the 833 cases, 501 of the infections are in Massachusetts residents, 210 of whom are Provincetown residents, according to Morse. 

“The remainder of individuals who tested positive reside in other states,” Morse said in a statement.

According to the town manager, seven hospitalizations have been reported in connection with the cluster. Five occurred in-state, while two took place out-of state. 

No deaths have been reported in connection with the outbreak, which has included individuals who are fully vaccinated.

The numbers represent the cumulative cases linked to the outbreak, not the number of active cases or current hospitalizations. Morse said that of the 210 cases identified among Provincetown residents since July 1, about half had completed the self-isolation period associated with the incubation period of the virus as of Tuesday.

In response to the rising cases, town officials have reinstituted an indoor mask mandate and are resuming wastewater testing to monitor the coronavirus outbreak. The move came just a few days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines for indoor mask use, reacting to the Delta variant driving infections across the country. The federal agency is now advising that all individuals — both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated — wear masks in indoor public spaces in counties that are seeing “substantial” or “high” levels of COVID-19. The agency defines that threshold as at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week or averaging a positive test rate above 8 percent.

According to the CDC, Barnstable County, which includes Provincetown, is listed as experiencing “high” transmission. Suffolk and Bristol counties fall in the “substantial” range.

Morse said local health officials remain focused on using testing to “gauge the impact of a cluster and the success of measures that are being taken to reduce viral spread” in Provincetown.

The town is working with Barnstable County to distribute at-home COVID-19 test kits to local residents, businesses, and visitors, he said.

“The test positivity rate (the number of tests that come back positive in relation to the total number of tests) have improved since surveillance of the Provincetown cluster began, from a peak of 15% on July 15th to a new low of 5.9% reported on July 27th,” Morse said. 

Officials consider a test positivity rate under 5% as progress toward containing the outbreak, and a rate under 1% represents containment, Morse said. 

The town is continuing to offer free daily testing and vaccinations at the Veterans Memorial Community Center. Officials are extending the testing through Aug. 13, while vaccines will continue to be offered through Aug. 6. 

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Massachusetts Covid cluster balloons to more than 760 cases

WCVB Boston 28 July, 2021 - 09:30am

Provincetown Town Manager Alex Morse said a total of 765 confirmed positive cases have been reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health since the cluster of cases was first identified following the 4th of July holiday weekend.

Nearly 200 of those who have tested positive live in Provincetown, while 439 are Massachusetts residents. The rest live in other states.

Three hospitalizations have been linked with the cluster, and no deaths have been reported, Morse said.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement last week that they suspect the more virulent delta variant is responsible for the expanding cluster. About 83 percent of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. this month are delta variant infections, and experts say the variant is behind the new wave of nationwide infections.

During an emergency meeting earlier this month, the Provincetown Board of Health voted to advise people to wear masks inside, regardless of vaccination status after 132 cases were linked to the town.

Morse said Tuesday that the case count is cumulative and does not mean 765 people currently have Covid. He also said the test positivity rate, "the number of tests that come back positive in relation to the total number of tests," has actually decreased from 15 percent to 7 percent since the cluster was first reported.

Free testing and vaccination sites are available through August in the Cape Cod town with a year-round population of about 3,000.

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