PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Provincetown officials have issued a new mask advisory after a spike in COVID-19 breakthrough cases. Health officials released the new guidance Monday morning after an emergency meeting.
Breakthrough cases refer to people who have contracted the virus even after they have already been fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccinated people in Provincetown are now advised to wear masks indoors, while unvaccinated people are required to wear masks both indoors and outdoors where social distancing cannot not be maintained.
Health officials reported 132 cases associated with the new spike through this past Friday, but not all of the cases are based in Provincetown, according to Town Manager Alex Morse.
89 of those cases were among Massachusetts residents, and 39 were among residents of the Cape.
Morse told WBZ NewsRadio that the "vast majority" of the 132 cases were among the vaccinated, and had mild symptoms.
Testing on the Rise
COVID-19 testing is also ramping up in Provincetown after the uptick.
Provincetown health officials recently reported around two-dozen positive COVID-19 cases earlier this month — the majority of them were also breakthrough cases.
Dr. Daniel Kuritizeks, the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said that as more unvaccinated people become infected — it's not surprising to see a spillover into those who are, although symptoms tend to be less mild for them.
"Anybody who is diagnosed with COVID-19 should isolate themselves until they test negative or at least their symptoms resolve or for the period prescribed by the CDC for isolation even if they're not having symptoms," he said.
Officials in Provincetown are now expanding mitigation efforts by offering free daily testing Sunday through Friday at the Veterans Memorial Community Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"If people are being tested on a regular basis, it's more likely that you'll detect infections, particularly when they're asymptomatic," Dr. Kuritizeks said. "Those could be explaining some of the apparent breakthroughs — that's quite different than having symptomatic COVID-19, and a lot different than having severe Covid-19 that lands you in the hospital."
"The vaccines are still doing a great job of bringing the pandemic under control, and the more people who get vaccinated the fewer cases and the fewer breakthroughs we'll see," Dr. Kuritizeks said.
WBZ News Radio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports: