Officials in Provincetown, Massachusetts, are sounding the alarm after a handful of new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Cape Cod tourist community in recent days.
Town Manager Alex Morse said Tuesday afternoon in a statement that, "Overwhelmingly, the affected individuals have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The moderate intensity of symptoms indicates that the vaccines are working as predicted."
He noted that the town, a popular tourist destination at the tip of Cape Cod, has among the highest vaccination rates in Massachusetts -- in fact, 114% of people 12 and older who can be vaccinated have done so.
It's hard to avoid the crowds in downtown Provincetown in the summer -- With only about 3,000 full time residents, as many as 60,000 people visit each day during the summer.
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COVID testing is being stepped up in Provincetown, with free, walk-up mobile testing to be available at the Veterans Memorial Community Center parking lot at 2 Mayflower Street on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday-Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"We strongly encourage all who are eligible to be vaccinated. The vaccines are highly effective against primary infection, including the Delta variant. The mildness of symptoms among these cases is proof that the vaccines are working," Morse said.
Morse noted in an interview that the rise in cases "isn't cause for alarm or panic. Town officials are addressing this, we're in touch with public health experts and those are the voices we're going to listen to."
He had previously said the cases were among "folks who spent time in Provincetown" and some were breakthrough cases, people who tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine.
According to the state, there have been 34 new coronavirus cases in Barnstable County in the past 14 days. Health officials are closely monitoring the situation.
Pat Nadle of Outer Cape Health Services said the cases of COVID are all mild, thanks in large part to the town's vaccination rate.
A number of the cases are so-called "breakthrough" cases among people who have already been vaccinated. The cases also include the new delta variant.
Breakthrough cases are rare -- 99.7% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. are among people who have not been vaccinated, Morse has said.
He has stressed that officials never expected COVID to completely vanish, and the number of visitors means it's inevitable cases will pop up over the summer.
More than 80% of adults in Massachusetts have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 4 million residents are fully vaccinated, according to state officials.
However, the Bay State is pushing for more people to get vaccinated as cases of the highly contagious delta variant sweep across Massachusetts. First identified in India and now in over 100 countries, the variant is approximately 60% more transmissible and could result in more severe disease. State officials estimate it will soon become the dominant strain.
Although most of its residents are already vaccinated, the state's mobile Vax Bus will be in Provincetown on Thursday.