Eight Falmouth lifeguards have tested positive for COVID-19, and as a result staffing at some beaches may be temporarily reduced, town officials said Tuesday.
Town Manager Julian M. Suso confirmed the tally in an e-mail message, saying the results were disclosed at a of the town’s Select Board Monday night.
Given the circumstances, “some beaches may be operating with a reduced number of lifeguards or (if necessary) will be posted with no lifeguards temporarily available,” he said in an e-mail Tuesday. “Upon the report of a positive coronavirus test, all eight affected lifeguards ceased working and are advised to follow the Commonwealth’s protocols.”
Suso said it was unclear whether the eight positive test results were linked to a single event such as a party.
“We are unable to speculate on this,” Suso wrote, adding that the eight lifeguards “do not routinely work at the same beach.”
The announcement came after Falmouth High School was forced to cancel an in-person graduation ceremony scheduled for Saturday, and instead hold a virtual ceremony, after school officials learned some seniors may have been exposed to the virus.
According to the most recent state data, Falmouth last Wednesday had 208 confirmed cases of COVID-19, out of a total 6,583 persons tested, the state Department of Public Health reported. In the prior 14 days, 4 people tested positive out of a 1,093 people tested, the data show.
Suso had said in an earlier statement posted to the town’s website Monday that officials were launching a free COVID-19 “testing process” at Falmouth Hospital for all town lifeguards and Beach Department staff members. Falmouth officials, Suso said, hope to have testing results available within 48 hours with the assistance of Cape Cod Healthcare.
“We are guardedly optimistic that Beach parking monitor positions can continue to be regularly staffed,” Suso said in Monday’s statement. “As further information becomes available, we will be providing updated notifications.”
Falmouth has 10 beaches staffed by its Beach Department, according to the official town website.
“Over the past several months we have been able to reduce Covid-19 infections substantially at both the state, county and local levels,” Falmouth Health Agent Scott McGann said in a statement posted to the town site earlier this month. “The reduction in case counts is a direct result of widespread adoption of social distancing and wearing of face masks.”