Westfield has ‘nightmare week’ of COVID-19 cases

WESTFIELD- This week, Westfield had its highest number of reported COVID-19 cases — 247 – since the start of the pandemic. 

During the Westfield Board of Health meeting Jan. 13, Health Director Joseph Rouse said “This week was a nightmare week in terms of caseload.” 

He said that the record number of cases could theoretically be explained by higher numbers of tests being conducted. However, he said it is more likely that these cases stem largely from Christmas and New Year’s gatherings. 

“If you would have said to me in March or April that it would get worse at the end than it was at the beginning, I would have told you to open a window so I can jump out,” said Rouse, frustrated at how much the pandemic has escalated. 

Public Health Nurse Debra Mulvenna said during the meeting that she has been talking more with local businesses about what to do if one of their employees has a positive case, as many of them had yet to experience any sort of cluster of COVID-19 cases. 

“Businesses have been great. Schools have been great. Everybody has been very receptive to working with us,” said Mulvenna. 

Mulvenna and Rouse explained that the Health Department is preparing for a scenario in which they are in charge of vaccinations once Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout plan begins. It is not yet clear to them if they will be handling vaccines or if that task will be left up to the state. 

“If I had to guess from the conversations I have been hearing, the first rollout for Phase 2 will be state run mass vaccination facilities in conjunction with the federal government,” said Rouse. “Getting the vaccine into our seniors who are most high risk is something the state is also focusing on.”

Rouse said that little information has come out from the state regarding the vaccine plan because they typically don’t announce something until a few days before it is actually going to begin.

The pandemic total for the number of confirmed cases in Westfield is now 1,939. This week marks the first time more than 200 cases were reported in a week. 

With the 247 new cases there are 293 Westfield residents in isolation with an active case of COVID-19. The Health Department also reported two additional deaths due to COVID-19 this week. There have now been 86 COVID-19 related deaths in Westfield. 

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