Southwick has significant spike in new COVID infections

Westfield has 53 new confirmed cases this week

SOUTHWICK- The Southwick Health Department reported 31 new confirmed COVID-19 cases this week, a staggering increase in a town that has seen relatively little spread in the pandemic so far. 

The spike in the number of weekly cases brings the Town of Southwick to a pandemic case total of 131. Southwick Health Director Tammy Spencer was able to provide the raw new case count but did not specify where or how the spread is occurring in the town of about 10,000 people and was not available for comment at press time. 

According to last week’s report, Southwick had only recorded four deaths due to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. The town reported just 7 new cases last week, which was an increase from the weekly average, but not yet considered out of control. This week’s 31 new cases the largest weekly increase in cases Southwick since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The Southwick Board of Health is next scheduled to meet remotely Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.. 

The City of Westfield reported 53 new confirmed cases this week, bringing the pandemic total to 807 cases. There were also five additional COVID-19 related deaths this week, bringing the pandemic total for deaths to 69. There were 95 cases in isolation when the Health Department reported the weekly numbers on Tuesday. 

Westfield recorded fewer new cases this week than the previous week. Health Director Joseph Rouse said that this is likely because the Westfield Gardens nursing home outbreak has mostly subsided. He said, however, that most of the five new deaths due to COVID-19 this week occurred among residents of the nursing home.

Westfield State University reported 58 new confirmed cases among students this week, bringing the total number of cases at the university to 113 since students returned to campus in late September. The campus is in a period of shelter-in-place until Nov. 19. It is unclear how the semester will move forward for students after the shelter-in-place is over. 

More information about the Westfield State COVID-19 outbreak can be read in the Nov. 16 edition of The Westfield News.

Across the state the number of new daily infections continued to surge, with the peak number of new infections taking place on Wednesday, Nov. 11 with 2,495 confirmed infections statewide. The daily average positivity rate from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12 was 2.88 percent. 

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Charlie D. Baker announced that a 240 bed field hospital would be opened in Worcester’s DCU Center, a move that is meant to create extra hospital spaces as medical centers are likely to reach or exceed capacity if the currently increasing rate of infection persists. 

Nationally, the U.S. has shattered daily case count records in six of the last nine days as of Friday, Nov. 13. The winter weather is expected to drive a surge of COVID-19 infections across the country that will eclipse the numbers seen in the Spring and Summer waves.

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