WESTFIELD — Another Hampden County college is retreating from in-person classes after a jump in COVID-19 cases.
The interim president of Westfield State University said Wednesday that test results this week found 23 cases of the virus, 19 of them among residential students. Four other affected students commute to the school.
As a result, Roy H. Saigo, the interim president, ordered what he termed a temporary pause in campus activities. The on-campus students have been moved to isolation in housing; the off-campus students have been told to stay home, Saigo said in a message to campus. The order bars in-person classes Thursday and Friday. Aspects of the Westfield State order will be in effect until 8 a.m. Nov. 19.
“We realize this temporary measure will bring about inconvenience for our students, faculty, and staff,” Saigo wrote. ”For that, I apologize. However, it is the right course of action, given the current set of circumstances at Westfield State.”
Last Friday, Springfield College moved to all-remote instruction because of rising COVID-19 cases, MassLive reported. On-campus students were told to stay in their dwellings to avoid disease transmission. As of Wednesday, Hampden County added 128 cases, bringing the total to 10,651, the state Department of Public Health said.
Until Tuesday’s test results, Westfield State had eight confirmed cases, based on 5,865 tests as of Oct. 29, according to the school’s website.
Westfield is listed as a higher-risk community in the most recent data from the DPH, with a total of 671 cases. The city saw 99 new cases in the two weeks before the previous DPH report, issued Thursday. It had a positivity rate of 15.3 per 100,000 residents.
Saigo said that while some of the students in isolation in Lansdowne Place have no signs of being sick, others are showing severe symptoms of the disease. So far, no one has been hospitalized, he said.