Southwick returns to moderate risk status with lowered case count
SOUTHWICK- The Department of Public Health reported six new COVID-19 cases to bring Southwick’s pandemic total to 599.
Southwick is now back in the moderate risk category for Massachusetts communities. It had been considered a high risk community for three straight weeks.
Public Health Nurse Kate Johnson reported during the May 6 Board of Health meeting that there have been two additional COVID-19 related deaths in recent weeks, bringing the pandemic total for deaths to nine. She said the most recent death was on April 23, when a 63-year-old Southwick resident passed away from COVID-19.
Johnson said that there is a continued discrepancy between Southwick’s pandemic total as reported by the state and her own count. She said that the real total is 659, but she reports the state’s number each week, and she is able to keep track of the discrepancies week by week.
She noted that there had been a small case cluster in April. There were eight confirmed cases and 15 confirmed contacts. She said entire households are still getting sick, which kept Southwick’s infection rate elevated.
As of May 6, 4,119 Southwick residents — 42 percent of the town’s population – had received at least one dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines. 2,823 residents, or 29 percent of the town’s population are considered fully vaccinated, meaning that they have either received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Johnson said that there have been some breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in Southwick, meaning that some people became infected despite being fully vaccinated. She said it has occurred in eight or nine people in recent weeks. Some of the residents infected with a breakthrough case exhibited COVID-19 symptoms but none have had severe illness ,according to Johnson. She said they are collecting data on which vaccine each of these residents received. They were all people in the 40’s and 50’s.
If nine out of Southwick’s 2,823 fully vaccinated residents became infected with COVID-19, that would mean just 0.3 percent of those vaccinated so far have become infected. That is well within the effectiveness rating reported for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, though it is impossible to tell how many vaccinated residents have been exposed to COVID-19 since their second shot.