The committees voted to give Morse the power to further limit or ease restrictions based on public health data from the Barnstable County Health and Environment Department (BCDHE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Morse wrote. Massachusetts eased its mask mandate in May.
The actions are taking place amid a sharp rise in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases linked to the city on the Cape Cod coast.
As of Friday, 430 confirmed Covid-19 cases related to the Provincetown cluster have been reported to DPH, according to the BCDHE. Of the 430 cases, 342 people live in Massachusetts and 153 of them live in Provincetown, while the remaining cases are residents of other states, the statement said.
Of infected Massachusetts residents, 71% are symptomatic and 69% are fully vaccinated, the statement added. There have been three hospitalizations – two in Massachusetts and one outside the state – but, by the way, the symptoms are “mild and without complications,” the statement said.
Genetic sequencing from the initial samples in the cluster was positive for the more transmissible variant of Delta, DPH announced on Friday.
Provincetown issued an advisory request last Monday that people wear masks indoors when social exclusion is not possible.
Despite a group of cases, Morse said on Saturday that the daily positivity rate had dropped from 15% to 9%, a sign that the outbreak was slowing. The mask order will be returned to the advisory if the test positivity rate is below 3% for at least five days, and will be revoked if the rate falls below 1% for at least five days, Morse said.
The Provincetown cluster is part of a wider increase in cases across the country, although the impact in New England has been blunted by high vaccination rates. In Massachusetts, the seven-day average of new confirmed infections has doubled in the past two weeks, hospitalizations have risen slightly, but deaths remain at low levels, according to state data.
About 63.5% of all Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated, the second highest rate in any U.S. state. Studies have shown that the vaccine, although not 100% effective, helps protect against infection as well as severe Covid-19 disease.