Topics: COVID-19

EASTHAM – Court Watson took an art history class as a sophomore at Nauset Regional High School. But nothing he learned in the classroom could have prepared him for the things he saw in Rome up close. One of 17 Nauset High students who went on a trip to the ancient city over the school's February break, Watson, now a senior, recalled a visit to a museum in a house built upon layers of the city's past history. ...

COVID Numbers Drop, Though Less Quickly

By: Alan Pollock

Officials: BA.2 ‘Stealth’ Subvariant Bears Watching While local COVID-19 case numbers are at their lowest point since the end of last July and are still generally declining, public health officials are warning people to remain vigilant. BA.2, the so-called “stealth variant” of the virus, has spread widely throughout Europe and is now believed to be the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S. The two-...

Monomoy Schools To Lift Mask Mandate Monday

By: Alan Pollock

Nauset Schools To Make Town-by-town Decisions When they return to classes Monday after winter break, students in the Monomoy Regional School District could opt to leave their face masks at home. While they’re still required on school buses, in nurse’s offices and for students returning from COVID-19 quarantine, masks will be optional in Monomoy classrooms starting Feb. 28. In the Nauset district, which span...

Chatham Lifts Indoor Mask Mandate

By: Alan Pollock

Hopeful Signs At Pandemic's Two-Year Mark CHATHAM — Pointing to two weeks’ data showing declining COVID-19 case numbers, the board of health voted Monday to rescind its mask mandate for indoor public spaces. Two years after the outbreak of the pandemic, the vote is another hopeful sign that conditions are improving. Driven by the Omicron variant, COVID cases spiked following Thanksgiving and again after Chr...

Omicron Cases Peak, But Deaths Still Rise

By: Alan Pollock

As predicted, COVID-19 case numbers driven by the ultra-contagious Omicron variant appear to have peaked on Cape Cod, as they have in other parts of the country. Because of a two-week delay related to the typical progression of the disease, death rates continue to climb, however. As of last week, the 14-day percent positivity rate on the Lower Cape had begun to generally decline, standing at 18.4 percent in Ha...

Orleans Due State, County ARPA Funds

By: Ryan Bray

ORLEANS – Between state and federal COVID-19 funding and anticipated revenue from two recreational marijuana shops due to open in town, more money is coming to Orleans. But town officials need more guidance on how to spend it. The select board on Jan. 19 had a preliminary discussion on what the town can expect from state and county COVID-19 relief funding and tried to get a sense of how that money can and cann...

Nauset High Clinic Draws Anti-Vax Protesters

By: Ryan Bray

EASTHAM – A vaccine clinic at Nauset Regional High School Jan. 13 drew protestors to school property in the morning and afternoon. Nauset High Principal Chris Ellsasser said that eight people protested the clinic with signs outside the main entrance before the start of school. A group of about 15 people returned in the afternoon to continue the protest, he said. About 190 people participated in the clinic. ...

Mask Rules Return As Omicron Rampages

By: Alan Pollock , Ryan Bray

With public health officials now observing “broad and aggressive spread of the Omicron variant” on Cape Cod, residents are being urged to get vaccinated and to mask up in public. Meeting in emergency session Thursday, the Chatham Board of Health ordered the mandatory use of masks in all stores, restaurants and other indoor public spaces, starting Friday. In its own special session Thursday, the Orleans health ...

Masks Mandated In Harwich Municipal Buildings

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH – The board of health has implemented an emergency order mandating that masks to be worn in all town buildings. The board also issued a public advisory recommending masks be worn in all indoor public spaces. The board met on Dec. 28 and approved the emergency mask order for town buildings effective Thursday, Dec. 30. The advisory recommending masks in indoor public spaces was effective Dec. 29. The ...

Health: Omicron Rampaging, Mask Rules Returning

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Driven by the hyper-contagious Omicron variant, COVID-19 numbers are spiking across the Lower Cape, the state and the nation. And with many of those testing positive having already received two or three doses of the vaccine, public health officials are getting back to basics, encouraging or requiring the use of masks indoors. Following the lead of Harwich last week (see related story), the Chatham Bo...

On a week when holiday gatherings will begin to peak, public health officials on the Lower Cape and across the nation are reporting a continued spike in COVID-19 cases and a shortage of testing capacity. While the current case surge is likely related to the Delta variant, the extremely contagious Omicron variant is becoming dominant, they say. “We’d all be naive if we were to think that Omicron is not yet on t...

Get Booster Shot Now, Officials Urge

By: Alan Pollock

With COVID-19 cases now clearly surging across the region, public health officials at all levels of government are urging people to get their booster doses of the vaccine. But doing so can require a little patience. In Lower Cape towns, across the county and statewide, case counts have been climbing steadily for several weeks, and all people over the age of 18 are now eligible for free booster shots, provided ...

COVID Boosters: Who’s Eligible?

By: Alan Pollock

There seem to be new headlines every day describing which group of people are now eligible to receive which COVID-19 vaccine. Some people can now get booster shots, depending on their age, health and occupation. There is even talk now about a possible fourth shot for some people, even as public health officials work to get first doses into many arms. Let’s sort it out. Initial doses of the vaccine are currentl...

ORLEANS – Remote and hybrid meetings have moved to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they might stay there in the long term. Governor Charlie Baker in June extended Open Meeting Law provisions allowing hybrid and remote meetings through April 1. But Town Administrator John Kelly said the usefulness of Zoom and the internet in conducting government meetings could factor into the town’s future plan...

Health officials are sharing encouraging news about COVID-19 case counts, but say it’s too early to loosen requirements for mask-wearing. “The numbers have been going down,” Chatham Health and Natural Resources Director Robert Duncanson told the health board Monday. Twelve cases were reported in the first week of September, then seven and nine cases, and just five cases in the final week of the month. “And tha...

The good news is that Lower Cape schools generally scored above the state average in the spring round of MCAS tests. The bad news is that, in several key subject areas and grades, the state average is markedly down since pre-pandemic times. Statewide results show that many more students had gaps in their knowledge of math and English compared to students in the same grades before the COVID-19 pandemic, and few...