SOUTHWICK- The Town of Southwick reported 29 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 this week, which marks the highest weekly total reported by the town since the beginning of the pandemic.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southwick now stands at 160 since the pandemic began. Just four people are known to have died so far due to the virus in the town.
The Westfield News incorrectly reported in last week’s update that 31 new confirmed cases were reported. The real number was 28 new infections, which was still the highest weekly total until this week.
Public Health Nurse Kate Johnson said during Thursday evening’s Board of Health meeting that the town is reporting four or five cases every day. She said the recent numbers have put Southwick in the high risk category for Massachusetts towns. The positivity rate for the past 14 days had been 5.67 percent.
“It looks like it is not giving up,” said Johnson.
Johnson said that the average age of those becoming infected recently is much lower than what was being reported in the spring. Possibly as a result, most of those who have been infected in recent weeks in Southwick have reported relatively mild symptoms. Regardless, she said it is likely things get worse before they get better.
She expressed worry that younger people who may be asymptomatic will visit with their families and increase the risk of transmission to someone who may not fare as well from the virus.
There was an apparent cluster of four cases associated with Southwick schools. There have also been apparent neighborhood clusters forming throughout the town.
The City of Westfield reported 92 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths this week, a significant increase from the week before when 53 cases were reported. Health Director Joseph Rouse has not said where or how the virus is transmitting within the town. Westfield State University, which had a previously identified cluster of cases, had its students move off campus after the spread became unmanageable. It is unlikely that many of the 92 cases are associated with Westfield State as a result.
Another place with a previously identified cluster, the Westfield Gardens Nursing Home was also considered to be mostly under control as of the previous week. It is unclear if that is still the case or if COVID-19 spread has continued through the facility.
Westfield has a pandemic total of 899 confirmed cases and 73 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19.
Across Massachusetts the number of daily new infections continued to increase. The peak number of new confirmed infections this week took place on Saturday, Nov. 14 when 2,841 new cases were reported in Massachusetts. The average positivity rate for the week was 3.01 percent. The previous week’s was 2.88 percent.