Coronavirus | CAI


As WCAI covers impacts of the pandemic across our region, you'll find all our stories gathered here on this page. For helpful links and resources during the pandemic, check this page.

And be sure to visit our community voices page, where we've gathered stories and essays about the pandemic from people in their own words.

Updated case numbers: 

Liz Lerner

Students were dismissed from Falmouth High School on Monday after a member of the community tested positive for COVID-19. All learning will be remote until Friday. 

Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School Facebook page

Local school districts selected for the state’s COVID-19 testing program are making plans to roll out their testing protocol, which could vary substantially from one district to the next.

At Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Harwich, students will get the nasal swab right in the nurse’s office. Results are ready in 15 minutes with no special equipment.

COVID-19 Test Site Locator Map - Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

State money for COVID-19 testing is starting to arrive in Barnstable County from legislative earmarks.

The county Department of Health and Environment plans to establish its own testing sites.

Department director Sean O’Brien said the first batch of funding is $300,000 secured by Rep. Dylan Fernandes in the supplemental budget in July, and it must be used in Falmouth, which is in Fernandes’ district.

Liz Lerner

Gov. Charlie Baker is urging schools to bring children back to the classroom, and a Cape Cod public health official says the idea appears to be backed by science.

“Our governor and his team remain science-based and empirical in their approach, which is laudable and very welcome here,” said Vaira Harik, deputy director of the Barnstable County Department of Human Services.

Liz Lerner

State Senator Julian Cyr says COVID-19 is now spreading in the community on Cape Cod, not just in isolated situations.

“We are no longer in a position to say that we are not seeing evidence of community spread at this time, particularly on the Mid Cape,” Cyr said.

Liz Lerner

Police are concerned about two things this Halloween: unsafe gatherings and the vandalism sometimes associated with the holiday, according to Chatham Police Chief Mark Pawlina. 

Liz Lerner

A spike in COVID-19 cases reported Monday and Tuesday on Cape Cod largely stems from one indoor event, according to State Senator Julian Cyr.

The number of cases of coronavirus on Nantucket has slowed over the last week, but health officials are still keeping a close watch on daily tests.  

The island has suffered from two surges since early September, one related to the trades, and the most recent related to a potluck gathering at a local church.   


Barnstable High School parents, alumni, and other members of the community urged the School Committee on Wednesday to find a way to bring back the principal, Patrick Clark.

Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown placed him on leave in late September for undisclosed reasons.

Town of Sandwich website

The town of Sandwich hired a part-time physician this summer to help with COVID planning, from procuring tests, managing staff outbreaks and planning to distribute an eventual vaccine.

CAI's Kathryn Eident talked with Fire Chief John Burke about why the town felt it was necessary to hire a doctor and why they have what he calls a "Doomsday Plan."

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

A small group of parents and school staff got up early enough on a recent Saturday to make it to North Falmouth Elementary by 8:30 a.m.

They came for a morning of work, setting up outdoor spaces for kids to play and learn.

Liz Lerner

Now that summer is over, the results are in: Although some businesses remain under strain, the tourist season was busier than expected, according to the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

Local restaurants are greeting Gov. Baker’s loosening of coronavirus restrictions with careful optimism.

Starting Monday, the rules allow patrons to sit directly at a restaurant’s bar — instead of just at high-top tables near the bar — provided they order food.

Monomoy Regional School District

A student in the Monomoy Regional High School tested positive for coronavirus late last week, prompting school officials to quarantine dozens of students and staff as a precaution. The district's—and the Cape's—first case of COVID-19 in a student came just days after school reopened for the year. CAI's Kathryn Eident talked with Scott Carpenter, Superintendent of the Monomoy Regional School District, about how things are going.

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. 

Markus Winkler

Local hospitals are still conserving N95 masks and requiring nurses to reuse them.

Shannon Sherman, co-chair of the union that represents registered nurses at Cape Cod Hospital, said employees are expected to re-use an N95 mask for up to five shifts, or until it becomes soiled.

Imagine leaving a job you really like to work fewer hours and live a more balanced life. Not an easy choice.

Then the pandemic hits, and your new employer shuts down.

That’s what happened to Sarah Butler. She lives in Bourne with her husband.

The latest cluster of COVID-19 cases in Chatham should not affect the reopening of the Monomoy Regional Schools, according to State Representative Sarah Peake.

Peake, who serves on the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force, said there is no indication of community spread and no known connection to the Monomoy schools.

Alecia Orsini

118 people who were furloughed from Cape Cod Healthcare during the pandemic are losing their jobs permanently.

They include 40 people in service occupations, such as food service and cleaning, plus a part-time nurse at Falmouth Hospital. The remaining two-thirds are nonunion and senior management.

At press conference today, CEO Mike Lauf said patient volume is still off by double digits in major departments, and government aid hasn’t made up for it.


Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries / Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

Frequent shark sightings this summer along the Atlantic coast of Cape Cod haven’t deterred people from heading to the seashore.

As schools work to make their reopening plans a reality by mid September, officials on Cape Cod are offering very specific health recommendations — down to how to test employees for COVID-19 and what cleaning products to use.

Home prices on Cape Cod are rising, even as some people remain out of work or have less income due to the pandemic.


The hot real estate market could put additional pressure on rentals and spur an eviction crisis, participants in a “State of Cape Cod” summit said on Thursday.

Eve Zuckoff

Teachers across the Cape and Islands say they want to get back into the classroom, but not yet. 


At 11 demonstrations across the region on Wednesday, scores of teachers called for "healthy and safe working and learning conditions in public schools." Remote learning, they said, is the only way to protect students, teachers, and families against the spread of COVID-19. 

Liz Lerner

A new set of precautions called “Beach Well” aims to keep people virus-safe at Cape Cod beaches this summer.

Although the list repeats some existing COVID-19 safety rules, it focuses more on which

beaches people visit and when.

Cape Cod Reopening Task Force

As schools finalize their reopening plans for the fall, the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force plans to offer a briefing for educators on COVID-19 testing and the latest virus data.

Administrators, teachers and school committee members will be invited.