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Dukes, Nantucket Have Highest COVID-19 Rate in State

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Dukes and Nantucket Counties now have the highest rate of COVID-19 in the state.

New state data released Thursday afternoon show the Island counties, which the state tracks as one, saw their rate of new daily COVID-19 cases nearly double from last week, to 66. That’s a measure of the daily new cases per 100,000 population, averaged over a two-week period.

And while Nantucket saw some previous spikes, it’s not just Nantucket driving the increase this time. The daily case rate is 74 on Nantucket, 74 in Tisbury, and 84 Edgartown.

But there may be reason for hope, according to Vaira Harik, interim director of the Barnstable County Department of Human Services. She said the third wave of COVID-19 locally seems to have peaked around the end of March and ebbed a bit over the last week.

Still, Good Friday and Easter may have affected the amount of reporting happening this week, she said.

“We are not out of the woods here,” she said.

Deaths from COVID-19 haven’t risen substantially, but Harik said increases in deaths tend to lag by about six weeks.

Meanwhile, state Senator Julian Cyr, spokesman for the COVID-19 Response Task Force, says the effort to bring COVID-19 vaccines to the homebound on Cape Cod has been a success.

“[In] most all communities on Cape Cod, the homebound populations have been fully vaccinated at this point,” he said.

He said community health centers have prioritized their allocation of single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines for the homebound program.

Shipping of some Johnson & Johnson vaccines has been delayed, due to a manufacturing mistake ruining millions of doses.

That delay is expected to affect Nantucket next week, but leaders on Cape Cod said only a small portion of doses going to the Cape are Johnson & Johnson.