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Massachusetts Covid cluster balloons to more than 760 cases

Earlier this month, just over 130 cases were linked to the cluster in Provincetown, a popular tourist spot.

The number of Covid-19 cases in a popular Massachusetts tourist spot has ballooned from about 130 to more than 760, officials said Tuesday.

Provincetown Town Manager Alex Morse said a total of 765 confirmed positive cases have been reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health since the cluster was first identified following the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Nearly 200 of those who have tested positive live in Provincetown, while 439 are Massachusetts residents. The rest live in other states.

Three hospitalizations have been linked to the cluster, and no deaths have been reported, Morse said.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement last week that they suspect the more virulent delta variant is responsible for the expanding cluster. About 83 percent of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. this month are delta variant infections, and experts say the variant is behind the new wave of nationwide infections.

During an emergency meeting earlier this month, the Provincetown Board of Health voted to advise people to wear masks inside regardless of vaccination status after 132 cases were linked to the town.

Morse said Tuesday that the case count is cumulative and does not mean 765 people currently have Covid. He also said the test positivity rate, "the number of tests that come back positive in relation to the total number of tests," has actually decreased from 15 percent to 7 percent since the cluster was first reported.

Free testing and vaccination sites are available through August in the Cape Cod town with a year-round population of about 3,000.