Westfield Gardens nursing home experiencing COVID-19 outbreak

WESTFIELD – Westfield has 56 new confirmed COVID-19 cases this week, with two additional deaths and 28 people in isolation as of Oct. 28.

The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 678 with 61 related deaths. 

Health Director Joseph Rouse said Wednesday that about half of the 56 new cases this week are from a single nursing home in Westfield, the Westfield Gardens on Feeding Hills Road. Last week there were roughly seven cases tied to the same home.

“If we did not have this cluster now, it would be similar to last week’s number, maybe a little bit lower,” said Rouse.

Last week the city recorded 36 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Rouse said that the two people who died of COVID-19 this week were senior citizens that were not from the Westfield Gardens home. 

The remainder of the 56 new cases this week were mostly spread out among the community, with no single significant cluster outside of the nursing home. 

One case was detected in Westfield High School this week, but Rouse said that so far there has not been a significant spread of the virus among school-aged youth in Westfield. School officials were unable to identify whether the infected person was a student or faculty member for confidentiality reasons. 

Rouse said if spread among school-aged youth becomes significant he will speak to Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski about making the recommendation for ending or postponing further in-person learning. 

“They would probably have to convene an emergency School Committee meeting, but we aren’t there yet,” said Rouse. 

He will also be speaking with the School Committee Nov. 2 to figure out how to move forward while cases surge locally, nationally and statewide.

Aside from the outbreak in the nursing home, there is no particular age group that is seeing a higher rate of infection in Westfield. Rouse said that the average age of those infected this week is late 40’s to early 50’s.

He said a large reason why Westfield has not seen significant spread among schools yet is because schools in Westfield waited more than a month to resume in-person learning. During that period, Rouse said, there was some spread among people involved in youth sports. 

“There was a period of about a week or two where the predominant age of new cases was ages of kids who would be playing youth sports,” said Rouse, “We weren’t back to school then, so those cases never got into that setting to spread it around. We dodged a bullet by staying out of in-person learning when we had a problem with youth sports transmissions.”

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