Board of Health has first in person meeting since start of pandemic

SOUTHWICK- The Board of Health met in person for the first time in more than a year as Southwick remains in the lowest risk category for COVID-19 for the second week in a row.

Health Director Tammy Spencer said that Southwick has had four COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks. The pandemic total for cases in Southwick was not exactly known during the meeting because of a possible error in the total reported by the Department of Public Health.

According to the DPH, Southwick had gone from 624 total cases last week to 686 cases, which Spencer believes to be an inaccurate jump.

“We are going with the fact that there are four, because I have only seen four in the last two weeks,” said Spencer. 

She said that at least two of the four cases from the last two weeks were discovered when they got tested as a requirement for work or travel.

Recently Spencer said she has been getting a lot of calls from businesses who suspect there is a COVID-19 outbreak among employees. 

“What we are also seeing is common cold, strep, and seasonal allergies,” said Spencer. 

Fifty-one percent of the population, or 5,010 Southwick residents, had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of June 17. There are 4,393 residents considered fully vaccinated, or 45 percent of the town’s population. 

Spencer said that the Curative COVID-19 vaccine clinic that took place June 15 was successful. Fifty-three people showed up to the Southwick Regional School campus to receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. She said that most of the people who received their shot at the clinic were middle school and high school aged. Those 53 people will need to return for a second clinic on July 6 for a second dose. 

In neighboring Westfield, the COVID-19 infection rate remains effectively the lowest it has been since the beginning of the pandemic. Just three cases were reported between June 10 and June 16. Two people were in isolation with COVID-19 as of June 16. 

By percentage, Westfield’s vaccination rate is slightly lower than Southwick’s, though more people have been invaccinated in Westfield than Southwick due to Westfield’s larger population. 

Fifty percent of the population, or 21,200 Westfield residents, have received at least their first dose. There are 18,656 residents, or 44 percent of the population, considered fully vaccinated.

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