PROVINCETOWN, MA (CBS) – There’s a warning in Cape Cod after a surge in COVID cases were tied to the Fourth of July.

Provincetown is telling everyone to take precautions, including wearing masks again.

The positivity rate in Provincetown is five times higher than it was just two weeks ago.

The Massachusetts state average was also back up on Tuesday to over 1 percent.

The crowds keep coming to Commercial Street in Provincetown. Even as the popular tourist spot experiences a midseason COVID spike, Barnstable County health officials said 132 COVID-19 cases were linked to Provincetown between July 1 and July 16.

Most of the cases were among vaccinated people who experienced mild symptoms, a fact that some health officials are calling significant.

"It is more than the 5 percent efficacy rate of the vaccine,” said Vaira Harik, Barnstable County Human Services.

The cluster included 89 Massachusetts residents, 39 from Barnstable County and 43 individuals who left the state.

"What has been reassuring is that the vaccine is working, and symptoms are largely mild,” said Alex Morse, Provincetown town manager.

Morse said “Ptown” needs to be proactive, but not alarmist.

The town issued a public health advisory requiring:

  • The unvaccinated, including kids under 12, to wear masks in crowded outdoor areas and public indoor areas.
  • Advising masks for all in crowded indoor settings.
  • Strongly advising some crowded venues to enforce vaccine verification.

“We do want to continue monitoring the numbers in the coming days and weeks,” Morse said. “If for some reason we feel we have to go a little stronger and put a mandate in, I think the board is prepared to do that."

That means Fanizzi's Restaurant is requiring all its staff to mask up, an added challenge in a summer that was supposed to feel normal.

"After the switch is off, people act like there's never been COVID and it's hard for us,” said Paul Fanizzi, owner, Fanizzi's Restaurant. “Swarms of people. They want big reservations, parties, events, things like that."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is coordinating with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to monitor out-of-state cases.

The DPH is also conducting sequencing to see if any variants are involved with the cases.

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