Pop-Up Testing to Be Offered in Chatham After Cluster Linked to House Party

Thirteen people tested positive for the novel coronavirus after attending a July 21 party in Chatham, according to town officials

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After a cluster of positive coronavirus cases linked to a house party on Cape Cod was recently detected by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, pop-up testing will be available to test other individuals who attended the gathering.

Ten people originally tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, after attending a July 21 house party in Chatham, according to town officials.

On Friday, another three individuals associated with the cluster were identified, bringing the total to 13, according to the Director of Public Health and Natural Resources for Chatham.

Between 30 and 50 people, who work together in the restaurant industry, attended the party and were apparently not wearing masks, town officials said.

One of the 10 individuals who tested positive is a Chatham resident and the others are from out of town, according to officials.

To help determine if other party-goers may have been infected, a pop-up testing clinic for those that attended will be available July 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Town Annex on George Ryder Road. Pre-registration is required by calling the Chatham Health Division at 508-945-5165 on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We've invited those who have who may have attended the party and close contacts," said Shareen Davis, Chatham Board of Selectmen.

Although it's unclear where the party-goers work, town officials said some individuals who tested positive contacted their employers and a few of those restaurants have temporarily closed. Those restaurants are following state health guidelines to deep-clean before re-opening, town officials said.

There was a three-hour wait to get tested for coronavirus at Melrose High School Friday, prompting officials to offer more testing Saturday.

The fallout from that party is now impacting other restaurants like Hangar B.

"It's just sort of a perfect storm in a weird way," Hangar B owner Tracy Shields said Friday.

Shields said she shut down indoor dining earlier this week and asked some of her staff to quarantine for a couple of weeks after an unrelated coronavirus scare. She said customers began calling her assuming her closure had something to do with the party.

"My cell phone was ringing a lot last night between guests that rightfully saw something about it and were concerned and so they called and relayed what day they were here and a visual description of what their server looked like," Shields said.

Despite concerns from some residents, others say they feel safe.

"I feel safe just because I'm doing my best to stay healthy, and I hope that other people would be also," Chatham resident Emily Quinn said.

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