Southwick confirms 9 new COVID-19 cases in a week

SOUTHWICK- The Board of Health announced Friday afternoon that the Town of Southwick had nine new cases of COVID-19 over the past week, bringing the total to 49.

Public Health Nurse Kate Johnson said during the remote Board of Health meeting May 7 that there are currently only seven active COVID-19 cases in the town that are being monitored, meaning many of the rest of the 49 individuals have already recovered from the coronavirus.

Johnson said that she thinks this is where the number of cases will begin to plateau, though she said she could not guarantee.

“Hopefully there will be fewer cases being added on. There were some major jumps in the middle of April,” said Johnson. “We can never be sure there’s a plateau. We could get five cases just tomorrow.”

Johnson said that most of the nine new cases this week were found positive earlier in that period, with two cases confirmed since May 2. 

Johnson said Thursday she was still awaiting data from a batch of tests from the American Inn. 

A statewide order went into effect May 6 mandating that all persons wear facemasks covering the nose and mouth while in areas where social distancing is not possible. Multiple members of the Board of Health said that they had personally observed individuals not wearing masks properly or not wearing them at all. 

Johnson said that people seen not wearing masks should be first warned about the $300 fine for a violation before following up on said fine. 

With some states and towns considering what types of businesses can reopen in the midst of the pandemic, the Board of Health is hearing proposals from several groups for their plans to open individually. 

The Board voted Thursday to allow three golf courses in Southwick to reopen under certain restrictions. A similar proposal is being considered by the board for the Agawam Revolver Club. 

Some groups, however, will require additional restrictions before they can reopen their doors. Health Director Tammy Spencer said she has received a proposal from the Living Hope Church that would have them reopen for drive-in church services. 

The proposal would have allowed for church service to occur with the congregation in their own individual vehicles. People would have been asked not to leave their vehicles, but if they did they would be required to wear a mask. 

The singing team would be outside of their vehicles, but would be standing six feet apart with separate microphones per social distancing guidelines. The bathrooms onsite would also be unisex and only one person could enter at a time. 

The Board of Health rejected the proposal, as they all agreed that people should not be permitted to get out their vehicles at all. Spencer said that she would rather wait to allow it until after Gov. Charlie D. Baker’s set date of May 18 anyway. 

“Even with the guidelines, large groups congregating together is probably not okay,” said Spencer. 

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