Provincetown coronavirus cluster grows to about 830 cases

Massachusetts

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (AP) — More than 830 confirmed cases have now been linked to a coronavirus cluster in Provincetown, Town Manager Alex Morse said in a social media update Wednesday.

Of the cases, 501 are Massachusetts residents, 210 of whom live in Provincetown. The rest are out-of-state visitors, said Morse, citing state Department of Public Health statistics. The numbers are cumulative and do not represent the number of people currently infected, he said.

Of the 833 cases, seven have required hospitalization — five in Massachusetts and two elsewhere. No deaths have been associated with the cluster. There is some good news, he said. The daily test positivity rate has declined from 15% on July 15 to about 6% as of Tuesday.

The cluster is being blamed on Fourth of July celebrations in the often crowded resort town at the tip of Cape Cod.

The town Select Board and Board of Health last Sunday unanimously voted to reinstate an indoor mask mandate, requiring all workers and customers in indoor public spaces to wear a face covering, except for those unable to do so due to a medical condition or disability.

The mandate applies to restaurants and bars, performance venues, lodgings, fitness centers, retail facilities, offices and other public places, officials said.

NEW MASK GUIDANCE

Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday he’s still processing new guidance of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending the use of masks indoors in high transmission areas, even by those fully vaccinated. Baker declined to say whether he will push to bring back any COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts.

The Republican noted that Massachusetts has one of the highest vaccination rates of any state. He also said he’s not currently considering new travel restrictions.

“Massachusetts is in a much better position than the vast majority of the states in this country with respect to how we deal with and how we’re prepared to deal with COVID,” Baker said in response to reporters’ questions at an unrelated press conference about dam repairs.

Baker said he wants to hear from more experts and expects to have more to say soon.

“I don’t think anybody should make a decision based on any guidance of any kind without first processing it a bit and figuring out what makes the most sense for our particular state,” he said.

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