Topics: COVID-19

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...

Masks Required For Meetings In Town Buildings

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — If you’re headed to an indoor town meeting, or maybe for a workout at the community center, be prepared to mask up. The board of health Monday unanimously issued an emergency order requiring even vaccinated people to wear face coverings while attending any indoor town meeting or any gathering of two or more people in a town meeting room, including the community center gymnasium and fitness room. T...

Secretary Kennealy Hears Pitch For Workforce And Housing

By: William F. Galvin

EAST HARWICH – Less than 100 feet from where state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy greeted Paul Fox, owner of Harwich Paint and Decoration, Dunkin’ Donuts sat dark and shuttered, the business closed because of a lack of staff. Kennealy has been taking tours across the state, visiting downtowns and villages, communicating with small business owners to better understa...

COVID Numbers On The Rise

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — While COVID-19 case numbers in the Northeast are very low compared to other parts of the country, they are unmistakably climbing. The two-week case average on Cape Cod has climbed 138 percent compared to 27 percent statewide. Orleans has a 14-day average daily incidence rate of 6.4 per 100,000 residents, lower than it has been in a month, and the lowest rate in Barnstable County. In the same time per...

School Officials: Masks An Incentive To Get Vaccinated

By: Alan Pollock

A mask requirement for students returning to the Monomoy schools isn’t just a means of controlling the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. School officials say it’s an incentive for students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated as soon as they’re eligible. The Monomoy school committee approved the mask mandate last week as part of its school reopening plan. While the requirement for face coverings drew vocal ...

With kids returning to school, cooler weather around the corner, and the Delta variant spreading rapidly, public health officials have a clear message: the best hope for the putting the pandemic behind us is for more people to get vaccinated. Last Monday, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which had been authorized only for emergency use, like the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vacc...

ORLEANS - The town’s board of health stopped short of issuing a masking order last week, opting instead to get behind an advisory modeled after guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The board voted 5-0 in favor of the advisory, which urges people to wear masks "whenever indoors on the premises of a business, club, or place of assembly, including but not limited to retail establishments...

CHATHAM — On its surface, the surge in COVID-19 cases that gained national headlines for Provincetown might just as easily have happened in Chatham. Both places saw huge crowds around the Fourth of July, with influxes of people from around the country. What was different? It might be the fact that Chatham has a much more subdued nightlife. Providing a pandemic update to the health board Monday night, Health...