WESTFIELD, NJ — The town has seen 11 new COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, bringing the total number of cases in Westfield since the beginning of the pandemic to 383, the mayor said Tuesday.

The uptick in cases comes along with “many messages of concern” that Mayor Shelley Brindle said she has received from residents reporting a lack of social distancing.

“Our case numbers have ticked up, which was fully expected as things reopened, but it is imperative that the number of new cases stays manageable,” Brindle said in her COVID-19 update. “We all have COVID fatigue, but our only means of virus mitigation and preserving all of our hard work and a sense of normalcy is to wear face coverings and maintain proper distance.”

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Westfield has seen 41 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Click here to see the statewide breakdown of COVID-19 cases and deaths across New Jersey.

Brindle asked residents who may be in good health to consider people around them who may be immunocompromised or at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.

“The steps we are asking everyone to take are simple — and more importantly, they work,” she said. “If we want to keep moving forward this is the path we need to stay on together.”

The mayor’s update follows discussion at this week’s Westfield Board of Health meeting over how to get people — young people in particular — to wear masks and comply with social distance rules.

MORE: It Pays to Wear a Face Covering in Downtown Westfield

Megan Avallone, director of the Westfield Regional Health Department, said that all the student COVID-19 cases across the eight towns her department serves have been the result of exposures outside of schools.

Avallone said that students are kept 6 feet apart and wear masks while in school, but it is important students maintain those practices while outside of school.

“It really benefits a community if they’re doing the same things when they’re not in school as well,” she said. “And I get it you have kids that are 16, 17, any child, and it’s hard.”

Avallone said that in an attempt to reach young audiences, she is in contact with a prominent personality who has a large social media following.

“I am in early talks with a social media superstar, who has millions of followers with the young crowd, to see if he or she will help us with a video,” she said.

Avallone added: “I am so hopeful that the next time we meet we will have a hip video with a superstar that people actually want to watch.”

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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