Coronavirus | WCAI

Coronavirus

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: 

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.

mass.gov

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.

mass.gov

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.

School districts in Massachusetts must finalize their comprehensive plans for the start of the school year by August 14th. Schools will choose from the following: an entirely in-school experience, an entirely remote approach, or a hybrid of the two.

https://www.barnstable.k12.ma.us/domain/42

School districts across Massachusetts have until Friday to put the finishing touches on re-opening plans before they must submit them to the state. Schools must explain how they could open for in-person instruction, remote-only instruction, and a hybrid of the two.  WCAI's Kathryn Eident talked about the process of developing Barnstable Schools' reopening plan with Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown on Morning Edition. 

Courtesy David Bergmark

This summer, David Bergmark isn’t coming to the family cottage in Truro. Like many people, he’s staying closer to home, which for him is Prince Edward Island.

But he says rentals of the cottage on Cape Cod are going strong.

“It’s been a completely different experience,” he said. “We could have rented it two or three times for each week period.”

Eve Zuckoff

At the Bourne Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility, everything has its own smell. 

“You get the gas smell, old trash smell, new trash smell, recycling smell,” said Dan Barrett, general manager of the facility. “There's a lot of different smells, and if you've been around long enough, you'll know the difference.” 

Liz Lerner

Clusters of COVID-19 infections tied to parties on Cape Cod are raising concerns that the true number of local cases could be higher than people realize.

 

The concerns come because test results for non-residents staying here for the summer may not initially be reported as Massachusetts cases.

 

Liz Lerner

Members of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force gave a community update Thursday focused on what’s happening in town government, including efforts to encourage mask-wearing and the outlook for summer recreation income.

Liz Lerner

COVID-19 has disrupted many of the face-to-face interactions that give people in substance recovery crucial support. But some are finding new avenues for recovery that could last beyond the pandemic.

Ashley, who lives on Cape Cod, had been alcohol-free for 10 months when the pandemic reached the Cape. 

Teagan Lind, 14 years old, of Falmouth, is a recent graduate of Lawrence Junior High School. She'll be a freshman at Falmouth High School this fall. And Alana Mikolazyk, 8 years old, of Falmouth, goes to Waldorf School of Cape Cod. This fall she will be in third grade. 

Liz Lerner

Newly available data show that Black people on Cape Cod have contracted COVID-19 at a rate three times that of the white population.

Vaira Harik of the Barnstable County Department of Human Services said the disproportional effect on Black residents is concerning — and reflects broader disparities in five social determinants of health: economic stability, education, access to health care, a person’s residential environment, and the community context.

Alecia Orsini

The fourth of July brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region.  But this year, officials on the Cape Cod Re-Opening Task Force are urging people to have their fun and be careful.

Liz Lerner

School districts have their work cut out for them with state guidelines released Thursday on the reopening of schools.

The state guidance asks superintendents to plan for three scenarios: everyone back in school, everyone learning remotely, and a hybrid of the two.

Barnstable school Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown said that at Barnstable High School, bringing 1,800 students back in the building could be too much.

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