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New COVID-19 cases dropping, but for seriously ill, the fight continues

A sign at Falmouth Hospital.
Liz Lerner
A sign at Falmouth Hospital.

Newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19 continue to drop on the Cape, South Coast and Islands after a peak in early January.

The decline follows a statewide trend. Health officials reported 8,616 new cases across Massachusetts on Thursday — far lower than a few weeks ago, when the seven-day average of daily new cases was above 23,000.

But this is no time to quit taking precautions, Barnstable County health director Sean O’Brien said.

“It’s really important to remember that, please, continue to wear a mask, social distance, avoid crowded situations,” he said. “Omicron is just such an infectious variant; you still have to maintain those protective measures for your safety.”

Bristol County saw 948 new cases reported Thursday, Plymouth County 635, Barnstable County 168, Nantucket County 24, and Dukes County 16.

An outbreak at Our Island Home nursing home on Nantucket has continued to spread through the facility. Twenty-three out of the 30 residents have tested positive since Jan. 8, The Inquirer and Mirror reported.

Although hospitalizations have begun to decline, the hospitals on Cape Cod are still coping with a significant number of COVID-19 patients. They were caring for about 70 COVID-positive patients this week, 10 of whom were in intensive care as of Wednesday.

Deaths have fallen slightly but have yet to reach a sustained decline.

“Unfortunately, we're not seeing the same trend with fatalities [as we are with new cases] right now,” state Sen. Julian Cyr said. “Over the last seven days, there have been 26 fatalities reported in Barnstable County related to COVID-19.”

The state reported 84 new deaths yesterday, including one person on the Cape, four in Plymouth County, and eight in Bristol County. There were no new deaths reported on the Islands.

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.