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Provincetown COVID-19 cases climb to 882

A sign at the Heaven Cafe in Provincetown requests customers wear masks until seated.
A sign at the Heaven Cafe in Provincetown requests customers wear masks until seated.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

The tally of COVID-19 cases in Provincetown linked to a cluster that emerged in recent weeks had climbed to 882 as of Wednesday, an increase of 49 from the prior day, Town Manager Alex Morse said Thursday via Facebook.

“Note that today’s update of the overall cluster number is the smallest daily increase in cases since we began reporting the numbers,” Morse wrote.

He said that of the 882 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, 74 percent are among vaccinated individuals, and 87 percent are men with a median age of 40. Morse wrote that 531 cases are among Massachusetts residents, 220 of whom live in Provincetown.

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“Seven hospitalizations have been reported to date associated with this cluster – 5 in MA and 2 out-of-state,” Morse wrote. “No deaths have been reported. It is important to note that the case data are cumulative and do not represent the number of people with active cases of COVID-19, or the number of cases currently hospitalized.”

The town, a popular summer tourist destination, adopted a new indoor mask mandate during an emergency meeting Sunday between the Select Board, the town’s Board of Health, and Barnstable County officials.

The measures came as the country battles increasing numbers of infections fueled largely by the virus’s Delta variant and a lagging national vaccination effort.

“COVID, unfortunately — and I think it’s depressing for many of us — isn’t going away anytime soon,” Morse had said during the meeting. “Provincetown is experiencing what other places will be experiencing, earlier.”

Local public health experts said in recent interviews that recommendations that people wear masks — even if they are vaccinated — may be a necessary step to help stop the virus’s spread, along with limiting the number of people gathering indoors in places like restaurants or stores.

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Those measures are all the more important in a place like Provincetown, a vacation spot that draws tourists from areas where the number of vaccinations are lower than in Massachusetts.

Dr. Robert Horsburgh, a Boston University professor of epidemiology, said Sunday in a phone interview that any community whose economy is based on tourism should be working on further ways to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We need to be more careful than we did before. . . . We do need to be cognizant that the virus is getting ahead of us. It’s unfortunate. Had the country gotten everyone vaccinated, we wouldn’t be seeing a new variant,” Horsburgh said.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.