Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southwick rises to 29

SOUTHWICK- The Board of Health announced April 24 that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in town had risen to 29, an increase of eight from the previous week. 

Public Health Nurse Kate Johnson said during the remote Board of Health meeting Thursday that of the 27 cases four are active and two of those four are undergoing contact tracing. 

Johnson said that 100 Southwick residents have been tested so far with either the nasal swab test or via blood sample. She said she is not surprised to see an increase in the number of new confirmed cases over previous weeks, as the testing capacity has increased. A new testing site opened at 57 Union St., Westfield on April 20.

Health Director Tammy Spencer said during the meeting that there have been daily complaints of individuals not following social distancing guidelines in the town. She said police have had to respond to the north boat ramp on Lake Congamond to break up groups of people gathered in close proximity. 

She said that signage will be put up at the problem areas this weekend warning residents to maintain social distancing guidelines. Should the problem continue over the weekend, she said the area will be closed. The boat launch itself would remain open, but the greens and the fishing pier where groups have been gathering would be closed. 

Spencer said that she has also been working with the Conservation Commission to open up parking lots for open space properties where social distancing guidelines can be more easily followed. Signage will be put up on public trails to encourage safe use. 

Spencer said that trash barrels in these areas will also be removed, as cleaning the barrels poses a contamination risk for the workers. People using the trails and public spaces would be expected to bring their trash out with them.

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