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Provincetown COVID-19 Cluster Nears 900, But May Be Slowing

Jennette Barnes
In a sign of the times, Robert Delehanty's T-shirt showed support for mask-wearing and the Provincetown 400 celebration as he got tested for COVID-19 outside the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Provincetown on July 22.

The COVID-19 cluster in Provincetown may be slowing down.

Though cases have reached 882 as of today, the daily increase is the smallest since the town began reporting the numbers, according to Town Manager Alex Morse.

Morse has been keeping the public informed about the latest COVID numbers via a Facebook page, ProvincetownManager, on which he posts regular updates.

The overall tally of cases includes people who have already been released from isolation and recovered from the illness, not just those who are ill today.

Seven people have been hospitalized, including five in Massachusetts and two out of state.

No deaths have been reported, Morse said in an update posted today to his Facebook page.

Morse and Barnstable County public health officials have noted that the test positivity rate is declining.

“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,” he said in the post.

The rate of positive COVID-19 tests in the cluster peaked at 15% on July 15 and then fell, mostly in a steady pattern, to a low of 5.9% on July 27th. Yesterday, it was 6.8%.

Of the 882 cases tied to Provincetown since around the Fourth of July, 531 are Massachusetts residents, and among those, 220 reside in Provincetown.

Nearly three-quarters — 74% — are so-called breakthrough cases in people who are already vaccinated for COVID-19.

As of today, 87% of the people affected by the outbreak are men, down from 93% in mid July. The median age has risen to 40 from 35 earlier this month.

There is evidence of community spread, according to Vaira Harik, deputy director of the Barnstable County Department of Human Services.

Data she presented during Sunday’s emergency meeting of town officials showed that as of last Friday, 71% percent of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 as part of the cluster experienced symptoms.