The spread of COVID-19 on Cape Cod grew more alarming Tuesday with news that 33 cases of the virus have been reported in a nursing home in West Yarmouth, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed.
Twenty-four residents and 9 staff members at Maplewood at Mayflower Place in West Yarmouth have tested positive for the virus since July 10, a DPH spokesperson confirmed in an email to the Globe on Tuesday.
The outbreak in the Cape Cod nursing home comes as the number of COVID cases in Provincetown spiked dramatically after the July 4th weekend, raising concerns about a resurgence of the virus. The Boston Public Health Commission issued an advisory Tuesday recommending that any Boston resident who has traveled to Provincetown since July 1 get tested for COVID-19 within 5 days of their return, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms, and self-isolate for at least five days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test.
Most of the nursing home residents who have tested positive are vaccinated and asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, according to DPH. A spokesperson for the nursing home said the cases are being monitored.
“Our COVID-19 Task Force and our community leaders are working in close collaboration with them to monitor the positive cases of COVID-19 at Mayflower Place Nursing & Rehabilitation Center,” Kim Bragoli, director of marketing for Maplewood Senior Living, said in an statement emailed to the Globe on Tuesday. “We are pleased to see that our vaccination efforts have clearly been effective as affected residents and staff are exhibiting no or very limited symptoms at this time.”
Residents who have been tested positive have been offered monoclonal antibody therapeutics, according to the DPH. All positive staff are said to be “stable.”
Maplewood at Mayflower Place, located at 579 Buck Island Road in West Yarmouth, is a “continuing care retirement community,” according to its website. The facility offers several types of services, including independent living, assisted living, and a nursing and rehabilitation center.
In response to the increase in new cases in the area, the Department of Public Health released guidance on Monday to control the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities in Barnstable County. Among the guidelines include the continuation of weekly testing for any unvaccinated staff members and mandatory mask-wearing for any visitor, regardless of vaccination status.
Experts are warning of an uptick in cases due to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, which now accounts for roughly 83 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the country.
The rise in cases in Provincetown has been declared a “cluster” by the Department of Public Health, and officials have found that “exposure opportunities were widespread in Provincetown, not focused on a single activity or venue,” said Vaira Harik, Barnstable County’s deputy director of the Department of Human Services.
The “vast majority” of the 132 confirmed cases in Provincetown between July 1 and July 16 were in vaccinated people, according to Town Manager Alex Morse.
Provincetown officials issued new guidance Monday encouraging people to wear masks indoors following an increase of cases in both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Provincetown reported an average daily incident rate of 13.8 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, according to DPH data, for the two-week period from June 27 to July 10. That was sharply higher than the statewide average of just 1.4 case per 100,000 residents for that period.
Elsewhere on the Cape, Yarmouth reported an average of 2.7 cases per 100,000 residents during that two-week stretch, and Harwich, 4.5 cases per 100,000. Weekly data on cities and towns is released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health each Thursday.
“We just wrapped up what are probably two of our busiest weeks of the whole summer, and so when you have a real high density of people in a pretty tight space, which we saw over the Fourth of July weekend, it is easier for infectious disease to spread,” said State Senator Julian Cyr, who is the public information officer for the Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force.
“Testing is our best tool to stop the uptick in cases, and vaccination remains our strongest defense in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19,” he said.
Linda Zuern, a former selectman in Bourne, died from severe COVID-19 complications Friday, the Cape Cod Times reported. Zuern, 70, a stalwart conservative, was not vaccinated, according to a close friend and one of her neighbors, the newspaper said.
In Massachusetts, cases are slowly on the rise. The seven-day average of cases in the state rose to 161 last week after reaching a low of 52 cases on June 28.
Still, the number of confirmed cases of the virus in vaccinated people remains low in Massachusetts. Data released last week from the Department of Public Health found that 0.1 percent of people in the state who have been vaccinated have contracted the virus. The DPH reported 4,450 “breakthrough” cases of the virus among 4,195,844 vaccinated people as of Saturday.
Massachusetts still holds one of the highest vaccination rates in the country: 83.4 percent of adults in the state have received at least one dose of vaccine as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nursing homes also have a low number of cases across Massachusetts. Per the DPH spokesperson, only 6 facilities reported new cases last week, each adding only 1 or 2 cases. Eighty-eight percent of nursing home residents and 73 percent of staff are fully vaccinated as of June 12, according to DPH.
Amanda Kaufman of the Globe staff contributed to this article.
Alexandra Chaidez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.