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City COVID-19 response team in place, publicizes numbers to call with questions

Jim Wiggs, director of the Westfield Emergency Management Agency. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – Emergency Management Director Jim Wiggs and Mayor Donald F. Humason, Jr. appeared on Channel 15 and WSKB community radio on March 24 to update the community on the city’s efforts in response to COVID-19, and on the best way for residents to get their questions answered.
Wiggs said the city has been working on forming an emergency response team and getting procedures in place. “Now that we’ve got everyone rowing in the same direction, we can focus on communication,” Wiggs said.
Wiggs said he is getting information daily from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Board of Health Director Joseph Rouse is getting information updates from the Department of Public Health. Information is being updated as it is received on the city’s website at and on the Westfield Emergency Management page.
“Things have been changing daily,” Humason said, adding that the decisions the city is making locally are in relation to what other cities and towns are doing.
Wiggs and Humason urged people with questions not to call 911, which is getting inundated with general calls. Wiggs said for general and non-emergency questions, residents may call the state informational number at 211. He said people with emergencies should still call 911.
For local questions, Wiggs said residents may contact the Westfield Emergency Management department at 413 642-9360, to find out what’s going on, and to offer volunteer or other assistance. He said he has been getting calls from people who are not working and have offered to volunteer.
Concerns and questions about the coronavirus may be directed to the Westfield Board of Health at 413 572-6206 or 413 572-9310. ‘We don’t have an infinite number of staff. If someone doesn’t answer, leave us a message, and someone will get back to you,” Wiggs said, adding to be sure to leave your name and telephone number.
Humason asked residents who send emails to the mayor’s office to please include their telephone numbers. “I want to get back to as many people as I can,” Humason said. He encouraged residents to call the office with questions at 413-572-6201. He said Michelle or Holly will answer, and make sure he gets the message.
“Be patient. Make your call, and when it’s your turn, they will focus their attention on you,” Humason said. He said the city is also working on getting frequently asked questions and answers posted on the city website.
“We are doing everything in our power to help inform the public and have the complete support of every department in the city. We don’t have a magic wand, or a bubble we can put over Westfield. If you help us, we’ll get out of this sooner,” Wiggs said.
“It will be okay. We’re going to get through this,” Humason said.

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