WESTFIELD, NJ — The town reported seven new COVID-19 cases on Friday, including six discovered that same day.

Mayor Shelley Brindle said the seven new cases are among 65 reported to the town in July. Of those 65 cases, Brindle said, 27 were linked to social gatherings mostly of young people. These have included gatherings held both indoors and outdoors, Brindle said.

“This is a worrisome trend and I’d be remiss not to remind everyone that even outdoor events are risky if precautions like face coverings and proper distance are not put in place,” Brindle wrote in her Friday coronavirus update.

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The new cases bring Westfield’s total number of cases to 347 cases, she said. They come as the statewide transmission rate rose to 1.35, Brindle said, citing the state Health Department figure.

“The last time the rate of transmission was this high was back on April 7 — a time when COVID hospitalizations in New Jersey were at their peak,” she said.

Friday’s update on COVID-19 cases followed a report from state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli at Wednesday’s COVID-19 press briefing during which she said 17 new cases had been tied to a “party in Westfield.”

On Friday, state Health Department spokeswoman Dawn Thomas said the party in Westfield that the commissioner was referring to happened early in July. Persichilli had included the Westfield party as one among a series happening around the state that have been linked to the spread of coronavirus.

“Every single one of those cases has the potential to infect other people: their grandparents, their parents, siblings friends, loved ones,” Persichilli said at the press briefing. “And if any of their contacts have underlying conditions cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus, the results could be fatal.”

Kim Forde, a spokeswoman for the town, said Westfield was “not informed which 17 cases specifically the Governor was referring to.”

However, the mayor had earlier this month reported cases linked to parties.

On July 10, Brindle reported 17 new coronavirus cases for past 10 days, including three that were linked to a house party. Then on July 11, Brindle reported another three cases had been traced to parties.

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

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