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In a Sign of the Times, Cape's COVID-19 Task Force Winds Down

Jennette Barnes
The Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force helped organize and promote vaccination clinics, such as this drive-through clinic at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds on Feb. 3, 2021.

After more than a year of work, the Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force is winding down.

The group is no longer meeting regularly, now that more than 70 percent of residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and most restrictions have been lifted.

Spokesman Julian Cyr, a state senator, said the task force has advocated for expanded testing, coordinated vaccine clinics, and helped businesses and the public navigate a myriad of health guidelines.

“The COVID-19 response on Cape Cod was a collaborative effort where people left their ego at the door, where everyone pitched in to get the job done,” he said. “Indeed, it's been a real masterclass in teamwork.”

The group has about 30 active members across government, health care, and the business community.

Cyr said Thursday’s telephone press conference was probably its last weekly call on COVID-19, but the group will provide updates if needed.

Sean O’Brien, director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, said the change comes as the one-dose vaccination rate for Cape Codders age 12 and up has reached about 78 percent.

“And it's really important to reiterate how important it is for folks to become vaccinated,” he said. “It's one of those situations where as much as we can, we need to keep those numbers coming in.”

Task force members are still working to get the vaccine to eligible young people and others who haven’t been vaccinated.

Before the task force was created last year, O’Brien started holding daily press calls on the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.

Cyr later started hosting weekly calls on behalf of the task force, and O’Brien’s updates were incorporated into those calls. Speakers each week included some of the Cape’s leaders in public health, business, and clinical health care.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.