WESTFIELD, NJ — Six more town residents have died from coronavirus, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Westfield to 13, the mayor reported Saturday.

The six new deaths include three women ages, 88, 84 and 68 and three men, ages 88, 85 and 76, Mayor Shelley Brindle said in her update. With the newly reported deaths, the number of COVID-19 fatalities in Westfield surpasses by one the number of local residents to die on 9/11.

“Please keep the families of these residents in your thoughts during this incredibly difficult time, knowing they are unable to gather for funerals, memorials and other group commemorations to honor these lost lives,” Brindle said.

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The total count of coronavirus cases in Westfield stood at 126 Saturday night, Brindle said. The Westfield residents confirmed to have COVID-19 range in age from 19 to 94, she said. Of the local people with coronavirus, 12 remain hospitalized, Brindle said.

Of the 13 people in Westfield to die from COVID-19, she said, six lived in long-term care facilities.

“Our Health Department is in daily contact with the management of these facilities within Westfield to offer ongoing guidance and track outbreaks,” she said.

However, the figures reported out of Westfield’s long-term care facilities are not representative of all who have COVID-19 at those centers. Brindle said the COVID-19 fatalities and case totals reported to the town’s health department from those facilities are based only on people who claim the centers as their permanent address.

“The actual case numbers are indeed higher than we’re able to report based on place of residence,” Brindle said. “Our outreach and assistance will of course continue as long as necessary, although decisions about the release of any widespread COVID-19 activity would need to come directly from these facilities as privately run businesses.”

Among the long-term care facilities in Westfield is Westfield Center, a facility of Genesis Healthcare, which states on its website that the facility specializes in pulmonary care.

Brindle advised people with family members at the facilities to contact those facilities directly. The state Health Department has also established a Long Term Care Facilities Hotline, which can be reached at 1-800-792-9770, Brindle said.

As of Saturday, 5,865 people have tested positive for COVID-19 across Union County and a 195 county residents have died from the virus, state Health Department figures show.

Across New Jersey, the state health officials reported the COVID-19 death toll rose to 2,183 people Saturday and 58,151 symptomatic people have tested positive for coronavirus.

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

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