Officials in Provincetown, Mass., are advising residents and visitors to mask up indoors as they work to contain a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Issued Monday, the new guidance recommends that all individuals in Provincetown, vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks indoors when social distancing is not possible. The Cape Cod beach town has seen a rise of COVID cases since the July 4 holiday weekend, with 132 confirmed cases reported to the state department of health as of last Friday, according to The Boston Globe. Eighty-nine of those positive cases were among Massachusetts residents, while the others affected people living outside the state or nation. Surprisingly, the COVID diagnoses affected both the unvaccinated and vaccinated.
Town health officials are investigating the "breakthrough" cases, i.e., people who catch COVID after receiving the vaccine. Breakthrough diagnoses remain very rare, and health officials say symptoms are typically milder for those who contract COVID after getting vaccinated, as opposed to those who have not received any vaccine doses.
The Barnstable County Department of Public Health called the increase in cases a "cluster" and will take further actions if it doesn't recede. County officials say there wasn't a specific event behind the cluster, but numerous exposure opportunities occurred. Nearly all of those affected are men, with 93 percent of the recent cases affecting those who identify as male. Among the new cases, 73 percent were symptomatic, with most individuals reporting mild symptoms.
At least 32 Provincetown businesses have reported employees and customers testing postive for COVID. The summer is high season for Provincetown, with hundreds packing bars, restaurants, and outdoor events like tea dances. Provincetown Family Week, one of the nation's largest gatherings of LGBTQ+ families, is set to begin on Friday, potentially bringing thousands of children and their parents to the resort city.