Dear Colleagues,

I write today with an update on COVID-19 issues as they may relate to MBL operations. As you may know, Barnstable County is experiencing a significant increase in cases driven by the Delta variant. Along with the high case count and higher positive test rates, the County is also seeing increases in hospitalizations. In light of this, please remember to continue following the MBL’s health requirements including indoor masking. If you don’t feel well, stay at home, and monitor your symptoms, follow MBL’s exposure protocols and if appropriate, get a COVID-19 test.

Omicron Variant 

Supported by information provided by experts at the University of Chicago Medicine, we are closely following updates about the new Omicron variant of coronavirus. We continue to regularly consult with the University on any steps that may be warranted by this or other pandemic developments. The World Health Organization considers Omicron a variant of concern because of its high number of mutations. Scientists are still studying factors such as its transmissibility, susceptibility to vaccines, and whether Omicron can cause more severe disease. While the evidence thus far does not support changes to the MBL’s precautions against COVID-19, we will communicate immediately if additional steps are needed.

Many countries are changing travel restrictions due to the Omicron variant or local outbreaks, potentially affecting the ability of travelers to return to the U.S. If you are traveling, you should check on any vaccination, testing, and/or quarantine requirements for your trip, and continue to monitor this information frequently as requirements may change with short notice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s travel page can help.

MBL’s travel policy has not changed. However, we encourage all staff to carefully consider whether international travel is necessary.

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots 

As of November 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has broadened its COVID-19 vaccine guidance and now recommends that all vaccinated individuals ages 18 and older get a booster shot. We encourage everyone who is eligible to receive booster shots.

For people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, the CDC recommends individuals get a booster at least six months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series. The CDC recommends individuals who received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine get a booster at least two months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination. Regardless of which vaccine you received, your booster shot may be any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States, according to the CDC.

COVID-19 Testing  

The MBL continues to offer a voluntary asymptomatic testing program via our partnership with COLOR Labs to employees who would like to participate for any reason. This program is free of charge to employees. We request that if you elect to participate, you do so on our regular weekly cadence. Testing occurs every Wednesday morning. For more information, please contact Ann Sweck in HR at Please note that this is an asymptomatic testing program only. If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, please contact a health care provider.

Paul Speer
Chief Operating Officer