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COVID-19 Surge on Nantucket Highlights Island's Risk Factors

State map that shows Nantucket as high risk.

Nantucket is experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases, and officials are concerned about risk factors that could feed the outbreak.

The 40 people diagnosed on the island in a 10-day period ending Sept. 16 represent more than a third of Nantucket’s cases for the entire pandemic. 

State Senator Julian Cyr said several recent cases are linked to workers in construction, landscaping, or hospitality, who may be living or working in very close quarters.

“There are a number of families who have 15, 20, maybe more, people living in three- or four-bedroom homes,” he said. “That is an environment that is very conducive to the spread of COVID-19.”

Some workers share rides to jobs and may sit close together in a vehicle, too, he said.

Cyr said some of the workers are immigrants who have been reluctant to speak with contact tracers.

Health officials are urging the public to trust the privacy of the contact-tracing system.

Erika Woods of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment said tracing information is kept private within the public health community. Contact tracing seeks to identify potentially infected individuals so they can avoid spreading the virus to others.