Westfield sees significant drop in COVID-19 cases

WESTFIELD- The Board of Health reported 18 new COVID-19 cases this week to bring the pandemic total to 3060. 

The number of new infections dropped more than 50 percent from the previous week, when 44 cases were reported. Twenty-nine Westfield residents were in active isolation due to COVID-19 as of May 12. 

For the sixth straight week in Westfield, no new COVID-19 related deaths were reported, keeping the pandemic total at 113. 

Health Director Joseph Rouse expressed optimism about the trajectory of the pandemic during the May 12 Board of Health meeting. He said the drop in cases was “a huge reduction that we have not seen in a long time.”

Rouse said that the falling infection rates and low numbers of deaths is a reflection of what is happening across Massachusetts. 

“On Tuesday, the state reported for the first time in over a year zero deaths from COVID-19,” said Rouse, “that reflects in our numbers locally.”

He said that he thinks the spike in cases last week could be a result of people traveling during school vacation week in April, but he said he has no way to confirm this. 

“We are not out of the woods, but we are seeing a trend throughout the state,” said Rouse, “Regardless of what you hear on national news, and what is happening in other states, Massachusetts is doing quite well right now.”

Because of the falling numbers, Rouse expressed an interest in not taking any additional COVID-19 related initiatives for the city so that the Health Department can start to focus on issues they had been addressing before the pandemic. 

He said that he knows there will be vocal contingents of people in Westfield who will not be happy with any decisions made by the Health Department in respect to COVID-19. 

“You will hear a lot of people coming to the forefront recommending what the city and the Health Department will continue to be doing to combat COVID,” said Rouse, “I appreciate people coming forward with recommendations, but at this point, seeing the metrics that I am looking at, it would be my desire to not take on any more initiatives, any more programs. I don’t want to add any more workload to the staff.”

He said that even with the falling infection rates, the Health Department’s workload has not decreased.

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