Local EEE nighttime activities restriction removed

While the state has givne Westfield a “high risk” status for EEE, cities and towns are given the authority to make their own determination of the risk now that the weather is colder.

WESTFIELD- The city’s Health Department chose to end restrictions on nighttime outdoor activities Oct. 23 after determining that the threat of mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is now low.

Public Health Director Joseph Rouse said Wednesday that a state epidemiologist had given him the criteria needed to assess the local risk of EEE. While the state imposed a “high risk” label to Westfield and surrounding towns, it has begun allowing municipalities to make the determination themselves. 

Rouse said that the state stopped testing for the virus on Oct. 11, and that they would keep all cities and towns at their risk level until there is a state-wide hard frost. 

Based on recent data and effective immediately The Health Department is rescinding the recommendation to limit night time activities,” said Rouse, “Please be advised that mosquito activity may still be present so it is advisable for people to take precautions.”

Rouse previously said that any temperature below 50 degrees will only allow for limited mosquito activity. Despite the fact that Westfield has not yet received a severe enough frost to end mosquito season for the year, temperatures at peak mosquito times are not expected to be high enough to allow for them to be out in large numbers at dusk and dawn, their peak hours. 

Until there is a hard frost, Rouse said he recommends people dress appropriately with long sleeves and use bug repellant as a personal precaution. 

Joe Rouse, Westfield Director of Public Health

Rouse sent his advisory to Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski as well as other city officials. The Westfield High School Bombers football team has a game in Holyoke on Friday, Oct. 25. Their next home game will be against Central on Nov. 1, and there will be no restrictions on the time that game may be played. The team had shifted its Friday Night Football to afternoons for the past several weeks.

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