With still half of the month to go, January has already become the second deadliest month on Cape Cod when it comes to COVID-19.
On top of this news, health officials continue to warn that they are seeing evidence of community spread. Residents are advised to continue to follow the health and safety guidelines and not to assume the pandemic is over just because vaccines are starting to be administered.
On the positive side of things, this week saw the inoculation of first responders across the Cape, including hundreds who were vaccinated in Sandwich.
And as the pandemic continues, Cape business owners are encouraged to apply for the financial relief that is available. Wendy K. Northcross, president and chief executive officer of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, said the deadline for the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation’s grant is Friday, January 15, at 11:59 PM.
By The Numbers
Based on numbers released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Thursday, January 14, 50 people have died from the virus on Cape Cod this month.
This places January as the second deadliest month for the pandemic, which was previously held by December.
A total of 957 people on Cape Cod have tested positive for the virus within the past week. This includes a record-breaking single-day increase of 196 cases reported on Sunday.
Of the cases reported in the past week, 87 were in Bourne, 89 were in Falmouth, 72 were in Mashpee and 181 were in Sandwich.
Bourne, Mashpee, and Sandwich are listed as being in the highest risk category (red). Falmouth is considered to be higher risk (yellow).
Hospitalizations remain steadily elevated, with a daily average of 51 patients hospitalized between both hospitals in the region. About 15 people on average have been reported to be in intensive care on Cape Cod.
The latest reports indicate that 61 hospital beds on Cape Cod are occupied by COVID-19 patients, including 16 ICU beds.
Sean O’Brien, director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, said the county is seeing very high numbers right now and asked that residents keep wearing masks, social distancing, staying home when sick and keeping hands and surfaces sanitized.
COVID-19 vaccines continue to be rolled out across the state, with first responders being vaccinated through this week into next.
A clinic held at the Human Services Building on Quaker Meetinghouse Road in Sandwich this week provided vaccines to more than 300 police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians working in Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, Sandwich and on Joint Base Cape Cod, state Senator Julian A. Cyr (D-Truro) said during a news conference yesterday.
The state has signaled readiness for the next group of people to be vaccinated in the first phase of the state’s rollout, which will be people who work in congregate care programs. This includes but is not limited to group homes, residential treatment programs, domestic violence and sexual assault shelters, veteran’s shelters, and approved private special education schools that offer residential services.
Healthcare workers who provide home-based care will be next on the list.
The vaccine is not yet available to the general population at this time, and people are asked not to contact public officials or their local boards of health looking to be vaccinated.
Sen. Cyr said information will be disseminated as it is available. He said that, once it is available, the vaccine will be provided at no cost. Additionally, the senator said that as far as he is concerned, people who are part-time Cape Cod residents who claim residency out-of-state will be able to be vaccinated on Cape Cod if that is where they are residing when the vaccine becomes available.
More than 300 days into the pandemic, businesses continue to struggle to stay afloat while balancing state-mandated health and safety restrictions.
In an effort to help these businesses pay utility bills, make payroll and generally make ends meet, a number of relief grants have been made available for businesses.
Ms. Northcross said in a news conference yesterday that the deadline for the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation is Friday, January 15, at 11:59 PM. This is a grant and not a loan, she said.
The grant is prioritized for industries such as restaurants and bars, food trucks, indoor entertainment such as movie theaters and performing arts venues, fitness centers, and personal services.
Ms. Northcross said this grant is available to businesses that have applied for other grants or loans in the past.
“Please, please, please apply,” she said.
Further information about this grant, including the application, can be found at www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org.
For more information about the COVID-19 pandemic, including up-to-date case numbers and links to valuable local resources, visit the Enterprise website at www.capenews.net/coronavirus.