Cape Cod Leads New COVID-19 Cases for Second Straight Week
Cape Cod is on alert over a spike in COVID-19 cases that’s pushed Barnstable County to the highest infection rate in the state for the second straight week.
The Cape’s highest rate is in the town of Barnstable, which now has a two-week average of 79 new cases per day per 100,000 population. That’s up from 65 daily cases last week.
Yarmouth is up to 43 new cases a day per 100,000, and every town on Cape Cod except the outermost three towns — Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet — went up over the past week.
Vaira Harik, deputy director of Barnstable County Human Services, said the chart of this third wave on Cape Cod looks like a mountain peak compared to a less dramatic increase statewide.
“The amplitude is very high — mountainous, if you will — versus the state’s, which is more of a blip,” she said.
Cases also increased on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard this week. Taken together, their cases are now the second-highest in the state after Cape Cod.
The spike comes just as local businesses are getting ready for an expected boom in summer tourism.
Mac Hay, chef and CEO at Mac’s Seafood, said Cape Cod needs more summer workers, from dishwashers to senior management.
“We're really looking down the barrel of what's going to be the strongest summer that I've ever seen,” he said. “There's a sense that ... we simply won't be able to meet the demand without an increased labor force.”
The industry is looking for the federal government to raise the cap on the number of H2B visas issued to foreign workers.
Meanwhile, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and MassHire career centers are developing a recruitment program tied to transportation from Fall River, New Bedford, and Boston.