Jennette Barnes | CAI

Jennette Barnes


Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. She feels grateful every day to see life through the eyes of people who share their stories.

Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to WCAI. She wrote for The Boston Globe for five years and twice worked at The Standard-Times of New Bedford, where she began as a reporter, rose to the position of editorial page editor, and later returned to write long-form projects.

Jennette got her start in journalism chasing politicians as a member of the New York State Capitol press corps, and then landed in Rhode Island, where she learned the art of community news at The Warwick Beacon.

Her work has received numerous New England journalism awards.

A series she pitched for The Standard-Times on Portuguese-American culture became the book A Nossa Vida: The Portuguese Experience in America. She loves learning about cultural heritage of all kinds, especially if it involves a bakery.

She is a mom, a kayaker, and a serious public television fan.

Ways to Connect

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

As the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out, people have a lot of questions about who is eligible, and when and how to sign up.

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce

The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses hurt by COVID-19 to apply for a sector-specific grant by 11:59 p.m. tonight.

Eligible sectors include restaurants, entertainment venues, gyms, salons, and independent retailers.

Partners in Health

Single-day COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts hit an all-time high earlier this month of nearly 9,000. The growing numbers make contact tracing a gargantuan task, and at times, the effort has fallen behind.

Beverly Costa-Ciavola, who lives in Falmouth, tested positive for COVID-19 the day after Christmas, but never heard from anyone.

Jennette Barnes / CAI

First responders from around the region began getting their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

CAI visited a clinic hosted by the town of Sandwich that vaccinated 92 public safety personnel from Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich, plus members of the fire department from Joint Base Cape Cod.

U.S. Secretary of Defense / CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons /

Public safety personnel around the region are scheduled to start receiving COVID-19 vaccines today.

The town of Sandwich is hosting a vaccination clinic for police, firefighters, and emergency medical workers from Sandwich, Bourne, Falmouth, and Mashpee, and for the fire department at Joint Base Cape Cod.

Liz Lerner

Cape Cod Healthcare says it cannot open a COVID-19 step-down unit because staff and money are stretched too thin.

The health system received a necessary state license extension on Wednesday, but the state is not providing the same funding package as in the spring.

New Bedford Whaling Museum


It’s that time of year again — when Herman Melville left from New Bedford on a whaling trip that would inform his iconic novel, “Moby-Dick.”

And with the anniversary comes the Moby-Dick Marathon, a round-the-clock reading of the entire book, hosted by the New Bedford Whaling Museum.



In a milestone for the PCB cleanup in New Bedford Harbor, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency transferred the project’s dewatering facility to the city of New Bedford on Thursday.

The EPA used the facility to remove water from contaminated sediment. The sediment was trucked off site, and the water treated and released.

COVID-19 cases are trending upward in many communities on the Cape, Coast, and Islands as the second surge in infections continues.

The rate of new cases — the number of cases per 100,000 people — has stabilized on Cape Cod but continues to rise in Dukes and Nantucket Counties, according to Vaira Harik.

Liz Lerner

Local businesses that have applied for sector-specific COVID-19 relief grants should check on their applications right away, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce said Thursday.

Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Chamber, said 2,600 businesses have been asked, by email, to provide more details to stay in the running for a grant from the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.

“You have seven days to respond to it, so this is a very quickly moving program,” she said.

Liz Lerner

Cape and Islands legislators have received no reply to a request more than three weeks ago for permission to reopen a COVID-19 step-down unit in Falmouth, according to Sen. Julian Cyr's office.

Google street view of 4586 Acushnet Ave in New Bedford.

With COVID-19 cases soaring and local hospitals nearing capacity, the city of New Bedford plans to open a dedicated COVID-19 recovery facility Jan. 18.

Josh Bauer /

Mayflower Wind has agreed to host an experimental floating platform for offshore wind as part of a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The platform will go in Mayflower’s lease area, about 30 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

The first batch of the newly approved Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 may have already arrived on Cape Cod.


Barnstable County public health nurse Deirdre Arvidson tells CAI that Cape Cod Healthcare has received a shipment of the Moderna vaccine.

Jennette Barnes

Tried calling the new COVID-19 testing line on Cape Cod? Some callers looking to make an appointment for the public testing sites have gotten stuck on hold for 30 minutes or more, only to get disconnected.


Lori Jewett, chief operating officer at Cape Cod Healthcare, told CAI the volume of calls escalated rapidly over the course of the week, from about 160 a day to more than 600.

Cape Cod Healthcare

Cape Cod Healthcare gave out its first COVID-19 vaccines to frontline health care workers on Tuesday.

“Are you feeling OK to get your shot?” a provider asked the nurse who received the first vaccine as co-workers looked on.

Jennette Barnes

Two sites that offer reduced-price COVID-19 testing on Cape Cod are now taking appointments.

The test is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, considered the most accurate form of COVID-19 test.

NIAID / CC BY 2.0 /

The pharmacy chain CVS tells CAI it will begin giving COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care facilities this Friday.

Alecia Orsini

Cape Cod Healthcare received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

Falmouth Service Center website

Some local food pantries are seeing a higher level of need, spurred by unemployment during the pandemic.

For the last several months, the PACE food pantry in New Bedford has been serving 1,200 families a week, compared to just 1,000 families each month before the pandemic, according to Executive Director Pam Kuechler.

Cape Cod Healthcare expects to receive the Cape’s first doses of COVID-19 vaccine during the latter part of next week, CEO Mike Lauf said Thursday.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

After weeks of calling Cape Cod a COVID-19 testing desert, local officials conducted a dry run Tuesday at a new testing site at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds in Falmouth.

It’s one of two locations — the other at the Cape Cod Melody Tent Hyannis — expected to open early next week. In addition, Outer Cape Health Services will begin providing asymptomatic testing in about two weeks at its Wellfleet and Provincetown facilities, where testing for people with symptoms is already available.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

Students at Cape Cod Academy got the chance to participate in a scientific study on Friday.

Inventor David Edwards, a former Harvard University professor, is testing a product he says reduces the amount of inhaled particles that reach a person’s lungs, potentially reducing disease transmission.

Vineyard Wind

Vineyard Wind has temporarily withdrawn its construction and operations plan from federal review. The delay likely means the Biden administration, not the Trump administration, will issue the final permit.

CEO Lars Pedersen said the company will resubmit the plan in a few weeks.

Liz Lerner

When COVID-19 vaccines arrive on Cape Cod, Barnstable County health officials want to see childcare staff and people who are homeless among those who get high priority, even though, to date, they are not specified on the prioity list set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaira Harik, deputy director of Barnstable County Human Services, said that in addition to health care workers and people in long-term care, early vaccines should go to people who are homeless and to workers at childcare centers.