Health director warns against COVID complacency as city reports 95 new cases

WESTFIELD – The City of Westfield reported 95 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 this week, bringing the total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,168.

The weekly report from the Health Department also included three new COVID-19 related deaths in Westfield. The total number of deaths in the city since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 79.

There were 140 residents with active cases in isolation as of Wednesday evening when the report was released. 

In Wednesday’s Board of Health meeting following the released results, Health Director Joseph Rouse echoed his comments from last week when he said that Westfield was in a period of “full scale community spread.”

Although the 95 new cases is fewer than what was reported last week, when 117 new cases were confirmed, Rouse said that it is becoming difficult to perform contact tracing. 

“Almost 100 cases in a week is a lot, and it is a lot to process with contact tracing,” said Rouse.

He said that the Health Department has become inundated with phone calls from individuals and businesses who are unsure of what to do if they have a positive case or how to handle the ever-changing COVID-19 regulations. 

Though the rate of transmission remains high, Rouse said that there is little transmission occurring in Westfield Public Schools. 

“The [school] district is doing a great job keeping this from spreading around,” said Rouse. 

The Westfield Health Department has allowed the State Contact Tracing Collaborative to conduct most of the contact tracing for general community spread throughout the city. The Health Department does do the contact tracing for schools, which Rouse has said is to make sure that it is done quickly to avoid further spread of the virus within the buildings. 

There is no known cluster or particular demographic in Westfield that is seeing higher infection rates. Rouse said that the elevated positivity rate could be attributed to simply complacency among the population. 

“Then, of course, there are very indulgent behaviors that are still going on where I can’t understand why the Governor or the state does not curtail it entirely,” said Rouse. 

He also urged cautious optimism about the apparent imminency of a vaccine, which could be given for the first time to some Americans in just weeks. 

“You have to be cautiously optimistic, because the vaccine is a plan, but it is not yet a reality,” said Rouse, “Until then we have to plan for the worse because it is going to get even worse than it is now.”

To Top