With the new interactive tool, users can click on a town to see the number of new cases over a 24-hour period. Areas are color-coded by level of risk, and some towns are broken down by zip code.
As of Tuesday, for example, the map showed 16 confirmed cases in Marstons Mills, but just two in neighboring West Barnstable.
Officials have said repeatedly that cases confirmed by testing are lower than the actual number of people infected, and they urge the public to adhere to social distancing, even in areas with a small number of reported cases.
The map is a collaboration between Cape Cod Healthcare, Barnstable County and the Cape Cod Commission. It has been posted on all three of their websites with data from participating towns.
- Cape Cod Commission: https://capecodcommission.org/our-work/cape-cod-covid19
- Cape Cod Healthcare: https://www.capecodhealth.org/covid-cases
- Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment: https://www.barnstablecountyhealth.org/case-numbers-and-figures
Dr. Kumara Sidhartha, a physician at Cape Cod Healthcare, is urging the public not to let their guard down if their community has a low number of cases of COVID-19.
Dr. Sidhartha said there’s a reason the new online map of COVID-19 on Cape Cod doesn’t use green as the color for areas with lower case counts. Yellow – the color of a caution light – stands for moderate, persistent risk.
"It’s marked as yellow, not as green, to make sure that folks are aware of not letting their guard down and practicing the public health precautions regardless," said Dr. Sidhartha.
He says the virus is "looking" for an unaware human host.
"The whole idea here is to use the heatmap to deprive that ability of the virus — because the virus depends on having the public not knowing where the infection is," he explained.
Health officials have urged people to continue hand washing, social distancing and other precautions. The CDC recommends covering your face but says a mask is not a substitute for staying away from others.