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7/27/2021 | Provincetown’s Continued Response to COVID-19 Cases

Additional Cases Confirmed; Test Positivity Rate Declining

July 27, 2021 | Provincetown, MA – Based upon review of current COVID-19 caseload and testing positivity rates, the Provincetown Select Board, Provincetown Board of Health and Barnstable County officials held an emergency meeting July 25 and escalated last week’s public health advisory to a public health mandate.

Surveillance Data

As of July 27, a total of 765 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 had been officially reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health associated with the Provincetown cluster. Of these cases, 469 are Massachusetts residents, 199 of which reside in Provincetown. The remainder of individuals who tested positive reside in other states. A total of 5 hospitalizations have been linked with this cluster. No deaths have been reported.

It is important to note that the case data are cumulative and do not represent the number of people with active cases of COVID-19, or the number of cases currently hospitalized. For instance, of the 199 cases identified among Provincetown residents since July 1, half have been released from isolation as of July 26 consistent with the timeframes associated with the virus’ incubation and infectious periods and Department of Public Health guidance on isolation.

Testing and Test Positivity Rates

Testing is the best way for health officials to gauge the impact of a cluster and the success of measures that are being taken to reduce viral spread. The test positivity rate (the number of tests that come back positive in relation to the total number of tests) have improved since surveillance of the Provincetown cluster began, from 15% to 7%. A test positivity rate of <5% is considered progress towards cluster containment, while a testing positivity rate of <1% is considered contained. The table below illustrates the progression of case positivity rates over the course of the cluster, beginning when the first test results became available on July 14:

COVID-19 testing continues to be conducted at Veterans Memorial Community Center parking lot located at 2 Mayflower Street, Provincetown (off Winslow Street). Testing has been extended through Friday, August 6 from 10AM-3PM daily. COVID-19 testing is free and does not require an appointment.

Vaccination is also available at the Veterans Memorial Community Center testing site through August 6.  The site offers the two-shot Pfizer mRNA vaccine and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Vaccination is free, easy, and no appointment, ID, or insurance is required.

In addition, the Town of Provincetown is working with Barnstable County to procure and distribute 1,200 BinaxNOW at-home COVID-19 test kits to local businesses, residents, and visitors. More tests will be made available as needed.

Public Health Mandate

Indoor masking is now mandatory for local businesses, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability, as outlined in the most recent sector-specific safety standards prior to the end of the state of emergency. This applies to the following:

Restaurants and food service establishments: Face coverings are required for all workers. Customers may only remove face coverings when seated. Kitchen staff working over an open flame or conducting other tasks that would make masking a hazard are exempt.

Theater and performance venues: Face coverings are required for all workers and customers. Audience members may remove face coverings only while eating or drinking. Venues are encouraged to provide social distancing between performers and masked audience members to the maximum extent feasible.

Indoor bars/dance floors: Face coverings are required for workers. Customers may only remove face coverings when seated at tables or seated at a bar. Patrons standing or ordering at the bar must be masked. Guests must be masked on indoor dance floors. To the maximum extent feasible, establishments are encouraged to move patrons outdoors, where masking is not required.

Lodging Facilities: Face coverings are required for all workers and guests when inside hallways and common areas.

Fitness Centers/Health Clubs: Face coverings are required for all workers, customers, and visitors. Customers are required to wear face coverings during fitness activity, including strenuous activity.

Close Contact Personal Services: Face coverings are required for all customers and workers. For facial or beard care, the customer may temporarily remove the face covering but must immediately put the face covering back on for the remainder of the visit.

Retail, Office, Indoor and Outdoor Events and Sectors not Otherwise Addressed: Face coverings are required for all workers and attendees.

All Unvaccinated Individuals: Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated, including children under the age of 12, are required to wear masks both outdoors in crowded areas where social distancing cannot be achieved and in public indoor spaces, per CDC guidelines.

–Public Transportation: Masks remain mandatory for all individuals on public and private transportation systems (including rideshares, livery, taxi, ferries, MBTA, Commuter Rail and transportation stations), in healthcare facilities and in other settings hosting vulnerable populations, such as congregate care settings.

Next Steps

Decisions for taking further actions, or stepping down from a public health mandate back to a public health advisory, will be made in consultation with Provincetown health authorities, the Barnstable County Department of Health & Environment, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The Provincetown Town Manager may enact further restrictions (such as venue capacity limits) should COVID-19 positivity rates increase, based on continued infection surveillance and monitoring of public health data.