WESTFIELD- The City of Westfield reported another new weekly record for confirmed COVID-19 cases this week, with 136 cases reported in the days leading up to Christmas.
The weekly total brings the total number of confirmed cases in Westfield since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,421.
As of Wednesday, Dec. 23 there were 182 known active cases in isolation in Westfield, the highest number of actively infected people in Westfield since the pandemic’s start.
Three people died due to COVID-19 in Westfield this week. There have been 83 Westfield residents who died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
“It’s shocking to see it as high as it is right now,” said Health Director Joseph Rouse.
Rouse said Thursday morning that there are no particular clusters in Westfield, as has been the case in recent weeks. However, Rouse said that the average age of people being infected in Westfield has been trending upward. Recently it has been mostly people aged 30 and younger who have been infected with COVID-19. Now, approximately 80 percent of the cases are of people between the age of 30 and 65.
He said it is possibly because the virus was spread heavily during Thanksgiving, making the jump from younger generations to older generations. Rouse said he thinks that spread among older persons is perpetuated by the fact that their demographic is working the most right now.
“Workplaces are being more of a source of transmission,” said Rouse.
Rouse said that he is glad the city made the decision to end in-person learning for a month, as he thinks the imminent post-Christmas spike in cases would have quickly made its way into schools otherwise. The spread of COVID-19 within schools was not considered to be significant, but Rouse said that it would have been difficult to keep schools open if the general community spread continues at its current pace.
To tamper the spread as much as possible, Rouse urged residents to continue following mask and social distancing guidelines. He also said that normal Christmas and New Years celebrations should not take place as they would in a normal year.
“I’ve been talking to people where they insist on doing it even though they know better,” said Rouse, “There is still a way to do it safely, but even private residences shouldn’t have more than 10 people.”
Rouse said that he hopes the vaccines will soon make an impact, but so far the only people in Westfield who have received it are frontline workers at Baystate Noble Hospital.