Health Bulletin: We need to pull together to fight COVID-19


Chair, Westfield Board of Health

By Juanita Carnes FNP, Board of Health chair

A marriage is much like a community. A union of not only two people but all their family members and friends of different faiths, cultures and ethnicities. It is a choice to join together, whether legally or not, to live, support, love, share joy, sadness and protect each other in sickness and health. The strength of that union is dependent on honest communication, trust, kindness and each taking responsibility for their share of the workload.

During this pandemic, so many have had to cancel, postpone or alter their wedding plans. They have been forced to start early in their relationship with the tough decisions that may affect family and friend relationships. They must compromise from the start with changing their plans and dreams of what their wedding day may have been. But more important than the wedding day, is the marriage.

The same applies to this community. Our unity is so important right now. This is definitely a time of sickness. Sadly, Westfield has had three new deaths in unvaccinated residents. New adult cases have plateaued this week, 60 percent unvaccinated. Cases in children are increasing. All those cases and their contacts may result in more positive cases. Community transmission levels remain high everywhere. Unvaccinated are at the greatest risk for hospitalization and death.

The latest statistics show that 1 in 500 Americans have died and 1 in 8 have been infected with COVID-19. Coronavirus deaths in the country have risen by 40 percent, with approximately 1.900 deaths being reported most days. In Massachusetts this week, there were 2,716 new confirmed cases bringing the total to 734,280, 15 new confirmed deaths with a total of 18,030 confirmed deaths.

Children under 12 account for about 50 million U.S. citizens. One in four new COVID-19 cases are in children right now. Studies to collect safety data are being conducted for the FDA to approve the vaccine for under 12. Until that time, this community needs to protect our children and all of our citizens.

We have predictions but no definite idea when this surge is going peak. We do have guarantees that many lives will be lost that are completely and totally preventable. We can assure you that avoiding vaccination is a very poor, life-threatening decision for you and those you come in contact with.

So trust in your community members that have the knowledge to advocate for your health and the health of this community. Engage in honest communication if you have questions about this pandemic and vaccinations. Be kind to yourself and others. And the greatest contribution you can make to your community is to share the load, take responsibility for your health which subsequently improves the health of the community. As asked of you weekly, please get vaccinated, wear your mask in public, mind social distancing and use hand sanitizer.

My hope for this community and all the brides and grooms affected by this pandemic
is a strong union and good health. Mazel tov!

Take care of yourself and someone else.

Dedicated health department members have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, as well as Board of Health members Juanita Carnes, FNP, Margaret Doody, and Stan Strzempko, M.D.

We keep working to keep you safe.

To Top