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COVID-19: Cape Cases Rise; Vaccination Clinics for Teachers

barn county covid dashboard 3.18.jpeg
Massachusetts Department of Public Health COVID-19 Dashboard, March 18

Cases of COVID-19 are rising in Barnstable County after a decline from mid-February into early March.

Vaira Harik, deputy director of the county Department of Human Services, said 192 new cases were reported on Cape Cod over the weekend and 176 from Monday to Wednesday.

“We attribute this to definitely increased case rates in the Mid-Cape region,” she said.

Two fatalities were reported on Cape Cod on Monday.

Harik said even with vaccine clinics going well, these cases serve as a reminder to continue taking precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

“It can still get away from us if we are not vigilant and persistent,” she said.

Meanwhile, Barnstable County has begun receiving triple the number of coronavirus vaccines from the state.

County health director Sean O'Brien said the county is now receiving 3,510 doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week, up from 1,170. That's in addition to doses administered at local pharmacies, community health centers and by Cape Cod Healthcare.

The Cape now has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state. More than 80 percent of the county's residents ages 75 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Eighteen percent of Cape residents have been fully vaccinated, and 15 percent have been fully vaccinated on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

The regional consortium that has been organizing large vaccination clinics on Cape Cod has scheduled three clinics for teachers.

Cape Cod Healthcare will run the first, set for this Saturday. They are open to K-12 teachers, school staff, and early educators.

CEO Mike Lauf said the consortium reached out to all of the public school superintendents on the Cape to get lists of teachers who needed vaccines. The health system contacted teachers directly to make appointments, and as of Thursday, 270 were signed up.

The Saturday clinic can handle at least 700 people, which is the number of names on the superintendents’ lists, Lauf said.

Two additional teacher clinics run by Barnstable County are scheduled for March 27 and April 3. All will be at Cape Cod Community College.

The county also has three clinics next week for the eligible population outside of education.

On Thursday, state health officials reported 82 new cases of COVID-19 on Cape Cod, 123 in Bristol County, and 180 in Plymouth County.

Ten new cases were reported on Nantucket, and five on Martha's Vineyard.

Statewide, 27 more Massachusetts residents have died from the virus, for a total of 16,426 confirmed COVID-19 deaths throughout the pandemic.

Three new deaths were reported on the Cape Thursday, one in Bristol County, and two in Plymouth County.