Coronavirus

COVID-19 transmission on Martha’s Vineyard now ‘high,’ CDC says; Nantucket implements mask mandate

If you're going out in Nantucket, don't forget your mask.

Red: High level of community transmission; Maroon: Substantial level of community transmission; Gray: Moderate level of community transmission, according to the CDC. CDC/Kelsey Janak, Boston.com staff
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Customers and staff of Nantucket businesses are now required to wear masks indoors, including at stores, restaurants, bars, venues, social clubs, and houses of worship under a new emergency order from the town’s Board of Health on Thursday.

The order comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated Nantucket County as an area with “high” community transmission for COVID-19 — one of four in Massachusetts, that now includes Dukes County (Martha’s Vineyard), Barnstable County (Cape Cod), and Bristol County.

The virus’ Delta variant has been fueling a rise in cases across the United States in recent weeks, as segments of the population remain unvaccinated and more vaccinated people become infected with the highly contagious strain.

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In all, 67.1 percent of counties across the country are now at high levels of community transmission, with another 18 percent at substantial levels, and 10.3 percent at moderate levels, according to the CDC.

In Nantucket, the latest emergency order states that patrons who are indoor dining at restaurants can only remove their masks when they are seated. Penalties for violations include a written warning on the first offense, a $100 fine for the second offense, a $200 penalty on the third offense, and a penalty of $300 on the fourth and subsequent offenses.

“Nantucket is an area of high transmission. If you are vaccinated, you have done your part to protect yourself, but you can still spread the virus to others,” town officials wrote on social media. “The intent of this order is to slow the spread of the highly contagious variant Delta and to protect those that are not vaccinated (children younger than 12 years old, adults with certain underlying medical conditions or with weakened immune systems).”

Due to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due primarily to the Delta variant of the…

Posted by Town of Nantucket on Thursday, August 5, 2021

In Massachusetts, COVID-19 community transmission is “high” — the top tier — in four counties, while virus spread is now “substantial” in a majority of others, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the substantial group: Plymouth, Norfolk, Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex, Worcester, Hampden, and Berkshire counties. Hampshire and Franklin counties are seeing “moderate” spread, a CDC map shows.

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No county in Massachusetts is at a low level of transmission.

Last week, the CDC updated its recommendations to say fully vaccinated people should wear a mask while indoors in public wherever there is substantial or high transmission.

Last month, Provincetown officials reported an upswell in cases among vaccinated individuals, with over 900 cases connected to the cluster as of earlier this week.

Town Manager Alex Morse said on Monday, however, that the total cases among residents decreased from 231 to 59, adding that Provincetown was heading towards containment.

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