As coronavirus cases soar on Cape Cod, officials are begging for more resources to help stop the spread. They say the new variants that that are believed to be more contagious are causing dangerous levels of community spread.
Over the last two weeks, Barnstable county has seen more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases and has a positive test rate of 5.6 percent, which is more than double the statewide average.
Seven towns on the Cape are now in the red zone for cases. Barnstable, Yarmouth, Mashpee, Brewster, Sandwich, Harwich and Dennis are all considered high-risk for virus transmission.
Yarmouth Health Director Bruce Murphy says he is nervous this is the start of another wave.
“I think in Barnstable county there’s at least 15 to 20 documented variants and they are going to continue to spread," Murphy said. "That’s why we need to get out in front of it as much as we can to slow it down.”
To help combat the virus, Murphy and others are calling for more resources from the state, including more access to the vaccine. In the meantime, they are ramping up mobile testing efforts and conducted more testing at Yarmouth Dennis Regional High School on Monday.
“The more swiftly we can contain this outbreak now, the sooner that we will see cases drop,” said State Senator Julian Cyr, D-Truro.
In addition to testing and vaccinations, Cyr said the numbers are proof that everyone needs to keep taking precautions.
“I think the Cape is a cautionary tale that we can’t let our guard down," Cyr said. "We’re doing everything we can to contain this spike, but as long as we have a good chunk of the population not vaccinated, we need to continue to be very vigilant.”
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Murphy says they are not at that point where they want to pull back on any reopening just yet, but they are putting up more signage in recreational places, urging people to take the virus seriously.
At Captain Parker’s in West Yarmouth, they are staffing up for the summer and hoping the virus doesn’t cause lead to any more shutdowns.
“We have to beat this because we would be in a really bad place," owner Gerry Manning said. "I think we will weather this spike though. We will get through this.”