WESTFIELD, NJ — Public data show Westfield’s coronavirus curve is flattening, concurrent with state trends, as elderly residents continue to feel the brunt of COVID-19.
Information from the mayor's coronavirus updates and comments from town officials suggest the peak of infections in Westfield has passed. The 14-day moving averages in Union County and New Jersey have decreased, according to Westfield Regional Health Officer Megan Avallone. Mayor Shelley Brindle announced on Friday that Westfield received only one new case in the past five days.
“We are at the point where things are headed in the right direction,” Avallone said at a virtual town hall on Wednesday. “We are not there yet. But we are on our way to getting there.”
The virus, though, continues to ravage Westfield’s elderly residents. Brindle announced two new fatalities this week, both women aged 89 and 77. In Westfield, 97% of fatalities from COVID-19 have been from residents 60 and older, with over half of the 35 fatalities associated with long-term care facilities.
“They are just more immunocompromised,” Avallone said of the long-term care residents. Westfield’s two long-term care centers, Sunrise of Westfield and Genesis at Westfield Center, reported a combined 98 cases and 27 deaths to the state Health Department as of Friday.
Avallone also noted that day-to-day results of testing could be faulty measures of the virus’ spread, with longer time intervals being a better indicator.
Testing numbers could also be artificially low, as the reporting system was down last weekend and results can take weeks or more to be reported, she said. One new case reported in Westfield this past week was more than a month old, Brindle said in one update posted to her Facebook page.
Still, town officials are optimistic that Westfield can maintain its progress in mitigating the virus.
“If we can stay the course for a few more weeks, I think we can see our way through the end,” Avallone said.
Email Daniel Han at email@example.com | Twitter: @danieljhan_
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