Topics: Health

The Monomoy Regional School District launched a pooled COVID-19 testing program this week, designed to identify spread of the disease among students and teachers who show no symptoms. But as of Tuesday, only about half of the school population had agreed to be tested. Superintendent of Schools Scott Carpenter said more permission slips are being received each day, and he hopes by the end of the four-week poole...

On March 14, it will be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed on Cape Cod. Three days later, Gov. Charlie Baker shut down schools and all but essential businesses statewide. How well are we coping? Do we need to find additional help? The Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force and MassSupport Network sponsored a livestreamed forum, “Season of Change, Coping During COVID,” on Feb. 24. People may...

After the anthrax scares that followed 9/11, local towns developed plans to open emergency dispensing sites to quickly vaccinate their citizens; those plans have now been in place for years, and have been routinely reviewed and certified. Towns practice them by staging routine flu vaccine clinics.  But during the pandemic, those plans have been shelved by state officials who favor using large mass vaccination ...

Tempers Flare Over Cape’s Vaccine Scarcity

By: Alan Pollock

State Opens Registration To People 65+, But Supply Still Lags The state’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out is now focused on senior citizens, but local and regional leaders are crying foul, saying the effort isn’t bringing needed doses quickly enough to serve the aging population of Barnstable County. “Cape Cod clearly is being left behind here in the Commonwealth’s vaccine roll-out,” said State Sen. Julian Cy...

CHATHAM – Year-end statistics gathered from town departments bear out some of the anecdotes about the way the pandemic impacted the community during 2020. More people stayed in town longer in the fall, water department usage figures indicate. There's also been an uptick in the number of residents and registered voters. However, other figures showed slowdowns that may be indicative of less activity due to th...

Selectmen To Conduct Hearings On Port And Ember Liquor Licenses

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Town Administrator Joseph Powers, serving as hearing officer for the board of selectmen, has found the Port Restaurant and Bar and Ember Pizza, Inc. violated state laws during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Powers in his findings concluded the Port Restaurant and Bar committed three violations and Ember Pizza, Inc. committed one violation. Powers stated in his findings he would hold his disciplinar...

It’s simple math: the county is typically receiving just under 1,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine each week. There are an estimated 10,000 Cape residents aged 75 and older, and each will need two doses of the vaccine. Unless the supply of vaccine increases markedly, it won’t be until June that all 20,000 doses are administered and the vaccine can begin going to seniors 65 and older. “It’s a system that pits e...

HARWICH — If the smiles behind the COVID-19 masks of the employees at Star Market and Shaw’s on Cape Cod are even more difficult to discern these days, it may be because they have just taken a hit in their weekly pay check. Comments about the pay reductions could be overheard in the aisles and at the cash registers of the Star Market in Harwich Port over the past couple of weeks. The move struck some patrons a...

The faltering roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine to residents 75 and older this week has left many senior citizens aching from a dose of frustration, but state officials hope a new telephone hotline will help. As of early this week, state officials were urging people to visit www.mass.gov/CovidVaccine to check their eligibility to receive the vaccine, to choose a convenient clinic, and to sign up for an ap...

COVID-19 Numbers Paint Mixed Picture

By: Alan Pollock

While COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations and other metrics offer hope that the pandemic is finally starting to ebb, other figures show the virus continues to spread easily in areas where people congregate. Speaking at last week’s meeting of the Cape Cod COVID Response Task Force, Barnstable County Human Services Deputy Director Vaira Harik observed that numbers of new cases had dropped somewhat, wit...

Vaccine Demand May Initially Outstrip Supply

By: Alan Pollock

Appointments May Not Be Available At First In news that is likely to be welcome in Chatham and Orleans – demographically two of the oldest towns in New England – Gov. Charlie Baker announced this week that 75-and-older residents have been moved to the front of the line in Phase 2 of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, with people 65 and older next in line. But local public health officials warn that, as of ...

COVID-19 Toll Climbs; County Boosts Pandemic Resources

By: Alan Pollock

  While the upward climb of COVID-19 cases continues unabated, Barnstable County officials are bringing more resources to bear on the pandemic, thanks to a boost from lawmakers. Your Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine, Answered Under legislation filed by State Rep. Sarah Peake, D–Provincetown, and State Senator Julian Cyr, D–Truro, the state has absorbed the annual pension liability for retired...

For Lindsay Garre Bierwirth, co-owner with her husband Fred of the North Chatham fitness center Chatham Works, stepping up during the coronavirus pandemic is a way to show her young daughters that in hard times, you have to help others. “In the darkest times, you shine the brightest light,” Bierwirth said during a telephone interview last week. For several months now Bierwirth has opened her gym at 323 Orleans...

CHATHAM - Officials are investigating a cluster of COVID-19 cases among staff at the North Chatham Post Office and are urging anyone who has visited that location since Dec. 28 to watch for symptoms, speak with their doctor, and consider getting tested. On Saturday, town health officials were contacted by the Occupational Health Nurse Administrator for the New England Region of the Postal Service and learned t...

COVID-19 Brings More Disruption, Tragedy

By: Alan Pollock

Chatham Records Another Death CHATHAM — The pandemic’s toll on Chatham is growing. In the span of a week, new cases caused three restaurant closures and prompted a new round of testing at Liberty Commons. And public health officials confirm that the town has now recorded its third fatality from COVID-19. “There was a death of a Chatham resident over the weekend who had tested positive for COVID-19,” Health ...

Harwich Facing Major Surge In COVID-19 Cases

By: William F. Galvin

Gov. Baker Rolls Back Reopening   HARWICH — There has been a surge in COVID-19 cases in Harwich and across the Cape, which has forced the town to reevaluate work protocols for town employees.   “As of Nov. 30, the town has been operating under Step Two model,” Interim Town Administrator Joseph Powers told selectmen Monday night, referring to the second step of the t own’s pandemic work ...