WESTFIELD- The City of Westfield reported 57 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death Nov. 25 following last week’s high of 92 cases.
The pandemic total for cases in Westfield now stands at 956 cases and 74 deaths. There were 113 people in isolation as of Wednesday afternoon.
Health Director Joseph Rouse said on Wednesday afternoon that the drop in the number of weekly cases is the result of the two major clusters in Westfield having officially resolved themselves.
Westfield State University moved the vast majority of students off campus last week to return to remote learning after the outbreak on campus grew out of control. Rouse said many of the people who tested positive at Westfield State are Westfield residents, which contributed to last week’s record.
The Westfield Gardens Nursing Home outbreak has also been resolved, Rouse said.
He said the 57 cases reported this week are largely spread throughout the town with no other major clusters having formed. There is also no predominance of significant spread among school-aged kids or school staff.
“As long as they continue to operate responsibly and they are vigilant about their precautions, I cannot recommend that the School Committee pull the plug on hybrid learning,” said Rouse.
Rouse said that there is a wide range of ages among those who are becoming infected with COVID-19. As far as he can tell, the biggest source of infection recently has been large gatherings, which makes him concerned about Thanksgiving and what may come in the following weeks.
“We are concerned and ready to have the numbers go up in the next couple of weeks. The number one source of infections is gatherings,” said Rouse, “We know people are going to gather but we are advising that they don’t.”
He said that we are at a point in the pandemic in which the government can only do so much, and the people must decide to do the right thing.
“We are not going to be busting down doors on big Thanksgiving gatherings, but now is a good time to point out that the people have to take control of this and start taking it seriously and abide by the recommendations we put out,” said Rouse.
Due to the high volume of community cases and the low number of Health Department staff, much of Westfield’s contact tracing efforts have been passed off to the state’s Contact Tracing Initiative. The state will be handling contact tracing for typical community spread cases, while the Health Department will flag down any possible cluster cases or cases associated with schools so that the city can expedite the quarantine and isolation process.