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Fourteen Day Average Incidence Rate in the Town of Barnstable
The average daily incidence rate increased again in the Town of Barnstable as demonstrated in the graph below (see right side of graph). This marks the highest average daily incident rate this calendar year. During the past fourteen days, the Health Division received 508 new positive COVID-19 case reports, which calculates to an average daily incidence rate of 36.3 new cases per day (equivalent to 81 per 100,000).

Local, County, State, and National Cumulative Case and Death Counts
A total of 6,280 Town of Barnstable residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 cumulatively to date. In Barnstable County, there have been a total of 23,141 confirmed cases and a total of 552 deaths cumulatively from Coronavirus in the County. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported there have been a total of 908,055 positive cases in the State of Massachusetts and 19,604 deaths from COVID-19 cumulatively to date in the State. In the United States overall, according to the John Hopkins University website as of December 2nd, there have been 52,283,331 positive Coronavirus patients to date, resulting in 816,610 total deaths nationwide.

Cape Cod Hospitalizations
As of December 16th, Cape Cod Healthcare reported there were forty (40) patients being treated at their two hospitals, Falmouth Hospital and Cape Cod Hospital, for COVID-19. Four (4) of the 40 patients were in the intensive care unit.

MA Hospitalizations/ Number of Patients Fully Vaccinated When Contracting COVID-19
According to today’s Massachusetts Department of Public Health report, on December 26, 2021, there were 1,636 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Massachusetts. Of those 1,636 patients, 509 patients (31%) were reported to be fully vaccinated for COVID -19 when they contracted COVID-19.

Number of Deaths in MA/ Average Age of Death in Massachusetts
Today’s Massachusetts Department of Public Health report indicated that there were 25 new, confirmed deaths during the past week. This brings the cumulative total to 19,629 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The average age of death was 75 years old.

Vaccinations of Barnstable County Residents
Our vaccination percentage rate continues to be one of the highest compared to other counties. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported this week that ninety-three percent (93%) of our Barnstable County residents who were eligible to receive vaccinations (ages 5 and older) have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine Eighty-one (81%) of our age- eligible (ages 5 and older) residents are fully vaccinated.

Omicron Variant/ What We Know/ Infection and Spread
On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant, B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern and has named it Omicron. As of December 20, 2021, Omicron has been detected in most states and territories and is rapidly increasing the proportion of COVID-19 cases it is causing. The CDC continues to expect a surge of COVID-19 cases in the coming days to weeks.

• How easily does Omicron spread? The Omicron variant likely will continue to spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. The CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
• Will Omicron cause more severe illness? More data is needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.
• Will vaccines work? Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
• Will treatments work against Omicron? Scientists are working to determine how well existing treatments for COVID-19 work. Based on the changed genetic make-up of Omicron, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less effective.

Town of Barnstable Continued Daily Response / Moving Forward
The Town will continue to follow the orders and directives provided by of our Massachusetts Governor and protocols provided by the State Department of Public Health Key officials of the Town continue to meet twice weekly, and more often as needed, to share the most up-to-date communications relative to new case numbers, hospitalizations, trends and scientific changes associated with the virus, information regarding new variants, CDC and State guidance/directives, and to plan and provide additional preventative measures and services (i.e. test kit distributions).

The Health Division continues to employ contract nurses who continue to work daily, including during holidays and week-ends, to contact those who become infected to ensure they are appropriately isolated and to telephone individuals who have come into contact with them to take quarantine precautions. Health Division staff continue to meet twice weekly to plan and implement actionable preventative measures and to ensure we are providing guidance and/or enforcement in step with the recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), requirements provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and orders provided by the Massachusetts Governor.

We know what it takes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Health Division recommends people follow prevention strategies such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, washing your hands frequently, and physically distancing from others. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated. The CDC also encourages a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for those who are eligible.

This report is updated on a weekly basis. If you should have any questions, please feel free to call us at the Town of Barnstable Health Division Office at 508 862 4644.

Respectfully Submitted,

Thomas A. McKean, RS, CHO
Director of Public Health