Health officials say they suspect the more virulent Delta variant of the coronavirus to be responsible for a growing cluster of Covid-19 cases in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement Friday that genetic sequencing of initial samples associated with the Provincetown cluster was positive for the variant.
He said two labs, the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory and the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard, have “identified the Delta variant in cases associated with this cluster.”
No other variant has yet been associated with the cluster.
“The Delta variant is known to be more transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus,” the department said. “People infected with the Delta variant tend to have more virus in their airways than other variants, and those infected can carry the virus for longer. “
About 83% of new Covid-19 cases in the United States this month are Delta variant infections, and experts say the variant is behind the new wave of infections nationwide.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Provincetown, Cape Cod was 132 a week ago. As of Thursday, it was 256, according to NBC Boston.
The Provincetown Board of Health said in a statement that Covid-19 cases increased after the July 4 bank holiday weekend.
Health officials “are urging residents of Provincetown, local businesses and visitors to take precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, regardless of vaccine status,” he said.
The board noted that masks are mandatory for unvaccinated people 12 years of age or older and advised indoor use when social distancing is not possible. Vaccination is the best way to avoid serious illness linked to the coronavirus, he said.
The State Department of Public Health said on Friday that 0.1% of the 4.3 million fully vaccinated people in the state had tested positive for Covid-19. Health officials have urged anyone with symptoms to get tested.