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New guidelines set as COVID-19 reaches 'high' level on Cape, Coast and Islands

Barnstable County

The prevalence of COVID-19 is now high in most of Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, the Islands, and the South Coast, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At the “high” level, which the Cape reached last week, the CDC recommends that everyone — not just people at high risk — wear masks in indoor public spaces.

The designation is based on the number of new cases, hospital admissions, and hospital beds filled with COVID-19 patients.

Wendy Judd, public health nurse with the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, said she recommends wearing masks in some situations.

“I think that any time that you're going to be in close contact with people — whether it be in a store, a grocery store, a movie theater — you might want to wear a mask,” she said.

She also recommends testing for COVID before attending a social gathering.

Most people in Massachusetts have not gotten the bivalent booster shot for COVID-19.

“It's understandable that people are getting tired of getting the COVID vaccine, but there are new offshoots of the variants that are … causing people to be sick,” Judd said.

Just 28 percent of Massachusetts residents ages 5 and over have the new booster, according to the CDC.

That’s the fourth-highest rate in the country, after Vermont; Washington, DC; and Maine.

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.