A popular tourist destination in Massachusetts issued a mask advisory on Monday after an outbreak of Covid-19 cases following the July 4 holiday weekend.
As of Friday, 132 cases of Covid associated with Provincetown were reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, according to a joint statement from the city board of health and the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment. It is not known how many people who tested positive were vaccinated.
Of the cases, 89 people who tested positive are residents of Massachusetts, while the rest are from other states.
The summer travel spot on the northern tip of Cape Cod has a population of around 3,000 year-round.
In an emergency meeting Monday, the Provincetown Board of Health voted to advise people to wear masks indoors, regardless of their immunization status. Unvaccinated people, including children under the age of 12, are required to wear masks indoors and outdoors, which is in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sites where social distancing is not possible are also “strongly advised to enforce pre-admission vaccine checking,” according to the board.
The board told residents that testing and vaccination was available through the Outer Cape Health Services in Provincetown, and said a mobile testing site would be set up in the parking lot of the Veterans Memorial Community. Center at least until the end of the week.
The board said the numbers could change “as the situation evolves,” but if cases do not decrease in the next three weeks, it will consider declaring a public health emergency.
“You can be sure that, if we don’t see an inflection in this over the next three weeks, I will call us back in session and we will consider declaring a public health emergency, but I want public health officials tell us they think it’s okay, ”said Stephen Katsurinis, chairman of the Provincetown Board of Health, according to NBC Boston.
“I think it’s a good and solid step. And I think it’s enough for where we are,” he added.
But some health officials disagreed.
“I have to say I’m a little disappointed that we haven’t taken a stronger stand on this,” said Janet Whelan, member of the Provincetown Board of Health. “Rather than just advising, we should demand masks.”