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Chatham party results in 10 cases of COVID-19 – Cape Cod Times


Town has been advised that several in attendance were restaurant workers.
CHATHAM — Ten people at a party attended by restaurant workers on July 12 in Chatham had confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Wednesday, Chatham Director of Natural Resources Robert Duncanson said.
The news has coincided with the temporary closure of several Chatham restaurants, including the iconic Kream N’ Kone, due to cases of COVID-19 among the staff, leading to fears about the health and economic impact of new cases during the busy summer tourist season.
“This is something we’ve all been very concerned about,” Duncanson said during a meeting Tuesday of the Chatham Board of Selectmen.
“We’ve seen this happen in other parts of the country,” Duncanson said. “It just highlights the fact there are large parties where people are not practicing social distancing and not wearing masks.”
The town received word Tuesday “that the state Department of Public Health has created a cluster notification for Chatham,” because of the outbreak of cases there.
The number of cases Tuesday from the party was at nine, none of which could be traced to Chatham residents, Duncanson said. He said Wednesday there had been a 10th confirmed case, this time in a Chatham resident.
“We were advised that a number of individuals at that party were restaurant workers,” Duncanson said.
Judith Giorgio, of the Chatham Health Department, contacted restaurants in town and informed them of the outbreak and to be on the lookout for possible cases among staff, Duncanson said.
Massachusetts calls for restaurants to close for at least 24 hours and to disinfect and deep-clean their space in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines after a “worker, patron, or vendor” tests positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
The Talkative Pig restaurant announced on its website that it has closed until July 18 after a “back of the house employee” tested positive for the disease.
A voice recording at tourist hot spot Kream N’ Kone on Main Street said it was “self-quarantining until further notice” to keep staff and community safe after a staff person tested positive for COVID-19.
The Hangar B Eatery at the Chatham Airport garnered kudos on its Facebook page after announcing it was reopening just for takeout orders for the next two weeks to ensure maximum safety for staff and customers.
“Although we are happy to report negative test results from our team, we have still asked some staff to quarantine for 14 days to be extra careful,” the Facebook post said.
“With the recent cases reported in our community, we have decided that the safest thing to do for our staff and guests is to return to takeout only. Since we will be operating with a minimum number of staff and extra precautions, all orders must be placed through our website for the next (two) weeks,” after which the restaurant will reassess the situation, the post said.
Supportive comments rolled in on Facebook, including one that said, “Y’all are awesome! You have done and are doing an extraordinary job of navigating this unchartered, immensely difficult business landscape, and my heart aches for you.”
It’s a tough situation for businesses in Chatham that have worked so hard to reopen, Shareen Davis, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said.
She applauded restaurants that have been candid about their responses to COVID-19.
“Hangar B is a very conscientious, community based business,” Davis said.
The town does not keep a list of restaurants that have temporarily closed, she said. “With social media and things, people are getting the message fairly quickly,” Davis said.
The uptick in coronavirus cases has caused Knots Landing Bar & Grill to close its indoor dining room “for the foreseeable future.”
The restaurant said on its Facebook page that it will continue to offer curbside takeout, delivery and outdoor patio dining.
Massachusetts allowed restaurants to reopen outdoors June 8 and to open their indoor dining rooms June 22 with space restrictions to accommodate social distancing.
Restaurants in other towns also have been affected by the coronavirus, including The Port in Harwich Port, which closed last week for 24 hours to disinfect the facility after a part-time employee tested positive for COVID-19.
The Land Ho! restaurant in Orleans also said on its Facebook page that it had closed for a couple of days to disinfect.
A part-time Harwich Port resident said she was unable to get straight answers from one local restaurant she phoned after hearing it had closed temporarily.
The woman said she doesn’t want to return from the small town where she is currently residing in Florida until she knows what is happening with local businesses.
Duncanson said he couldn’t say whether the coronavirus cases at restaurants in Chatham and in neighboring towns were linked to the July 12 house party in Chatham.
The number of people who attended the party and contracted COVID-19 “keeps changing,” Duncanson said. “I hope it doesn’t continue.”
Follow Cynthia McCormick on Twitter: @Cmccormickcct.

Source : https://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20200722/NEWS/200729878

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